Dome Restoration Project Necessitates Rotunda Closure April 12 through April 28. Click here for more information.
How would senators represent the citizens of their states? Under the Constitution, state legislatures (not voters) chose senators, who served longer terms than House members. The Senate gave each state an equal voice in Congress—regardless of its population. Critics of this system warned that the Senate might be too “aristocratic.” Would senators be accountable? they asked. Would they fairly reflect public opinion?
The opposite point of view was given by James Madison, one of the principal framers of the Constitution. He feared that the larger, popularly elected House might too easily “yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions.” Madison argued that senators, serving longer terms and chosen by state legislatures, would be more shielded from popular whims and better able to counter such political frenzy until “reason, justice, and truth” again prevailed.
James Madison, by Charles Willson Peale, 1783
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
This savage pro-Federalist political cartoon ridicules opposition leader Thomas Jefferson and his political followers as an unruly mob.
Courtesy of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia
Using the pseudonym “Publius,” James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote 85 essays that argued for the adoption of the Constitution. Federalist No. 62 outlines the role of the Senate.
Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society