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made for ascertaining, at stated times, the population of each State. Unless this should be done, it is obvious, that, as the growth of the different States would be in very unequal proportions, the representation would soon be marked by a corresponding inequality. To illustrate this, we need only to look at Delaware, which now sends only one representative, as it did in the first Congress, and to New-York, which then sent six, and now sends forty representatives. Similar, though not as great, diversities exist in the comparative representation of several other States. Some have remained nearly stationary, and others have had a very rapid increase of population. The Constitution has, therefore, wisely provided, that there shall be a new enumeration every ten years, which is commonly called the decennial census.
$ 66. There remained two important points to be settled in regard to representation. First, that each State should have at least one representative ; for otherwise, it might be excluded from any share of the legislative power in one branch; and secondly, that there should be some limitation of the number of representatives ; for otherwise, Congress might increase the House to an unreasonable size. If Congress were left free to apportion the representatives according to any basis of numbers they might select, half the States in the Union might be deprived of representatives, if the whole number of their inhabitants fell below that basis. On the other hand, if the number selected for the basis were small, the House might become too unwieldy for business. There is, therefore, great wisdom in restricting the representation to a greater number, than one for every thirty thousand, and in positively securing to each State a constitutional representation in the House. It is curious to remark, that it was originally thought a great objection to the Constitution, that the restriction of representatives, to one for every thirty thousand, would give too small a Ilouse to be a safe depository of power ; and that, now, the fear is, that a restriction to double that number
will hardly, in the future, restrain the size of the House within sufficiently moderate limits, for the purposes of efficient and enlightened legislation. So much has the growth of the country, under the auspices of the Constitution, outstripped the most sanguine expectations of its friends.
The next clause is, 'When vacancies happen in. the
representation of any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.' It is obvious, that such a power ought to reside in some public functionary. The only question is, where it can, with most safety and convenience, be lodged. If vested in the General Government, or in any department of it, it might be thought, that there would not be as strong motives for an immediate exercise of the power, or as thorough a knowledge of local circumstances, to exercise it wisely, as if vested in the State Government. It is, therefore, left to the latter, and to that branch of it, the executive, which is best fitted to exercise it with promptitude and discretion. And thus, one source of State jealousy is dried up.
§ 68. The next clause is, 'The House of Represen'tatives shall choose their Speaker, and other officers; and 'shall have the sole power of impeachment. Each of these privileges is of great practical importance. In Great Britain, the Speaker is elected by the House of Commons; but he must be approved by the King; and a similar power of approval belonged to some of the Governors in the Colonies, before the Revolution. An independent and unlimited choice by the House of Representatives of all their officers is every
It secures, on the part of their officers, a more efficient responsibility, and gives the House more complete authority over them; and at the same time, it avoids all
dangers and inconveniences, which may arise from differences of opinion between the House and the Executive, in periods of high party excitement.
69. Next, the Power of Impeachment; that is, the right to present a written accusation against persons in high offices and trusts, for the purpose of bringing them to trial and punishment for gross misconduct. The power, and the mode of proceeding are borrowed from the practice of England. In that Kingdom, the House of Commons (which answers to our House of Representatives) has the right to present articles of impeachment against any person, for any gross misdemeanor, before the House of Lords, which is the Court of the highest criminal jurisdiction in the realm. The articles of impeachment are a sort of indictment; and the House, in presenting them, acts as a grand jury, and also as a public prosecutor. The great object of this power is, to bring persons to justice, who are so elevated in rank or influence, that there is danger, that they might escape punishment before the ordinary tribunals; and the exercise of the power is usually confined to political or official offences. These prosecutions are, therefore, conducted by the Representatives of the nation, in their public capacity, in the face of the nation, and upon a responsibility, which is felt and reverenced by the whole community. We shall have occasion, hereafter, to consider the subject of impeachment more at large, in another place; and this may suffice here, as an explanation of the 'nature, and objects of
§ 70. We come next to the organization and powers of the Senate, which are provided for in the third section of the first article of the Constitution.
§ 71. The first clause of the third section is — 'The 'Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Sena'tors from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for 'six years; and each Senator shall have one vote:'
§ 72. First, the nature of the representation and vote in the Senate. Each State is entitled to two Senators; and each Senator is entitled to one vote. Of course, there is a perfect equality of representation and vote of the States in the Senate. In this respect it forms a marked contrast to the House of Representatives. In the latter, the representation is in proportion to the population of each State, upon a given basis; in the former, each State, whether it be great or small, is, in its political capacity, represented upon the footing of equality with every other, as it would be in a Congress of Ambassadors, or an Assembly of Peers. The only important difference between the vote in the Senate, and that in the old Continental Congress under the Confederation, is, that in the latter, the vote was by States, each having but one vote; whereas, in the Senate, each Senator has one vote. though the Senators represent States, they vote as individuals; thus combining the two elements of individual opinion, and State representation. A majority of the Senators must concur in every vote; but the vote need not be that of a majority of the States, since the Senators from the same State, may vote on different sides of the same question. The Senators from thirteen States may divide in their votes ; and those from eleven, may concur in their votes, and thus give a decisive majority.
$ 73. It is obvious, that this arrangement could only arise from a compromise between the great and small States, founded upon a spirit of amity, and mutual deference and concession, which the peculiarity of situation of the United States rendered indispensable. There was, for a long time, a very animated struggle in the Convention, between the great and small States, on this subject ; the latter contending for an equality of representation in each branch of the Legislature; the former for a representation in each, proportionate to its population and importance. In the discussions the States were so nearly balanced, that their union in any plan of Government, which should provide for a perfect equality, or an inequality of representation in both houses, became utterly hopeless. A compromise became indispensable. The small States yielded up an equality of representation in the House of Representatives, and the great States, in like manner, conceded an equality in the Senate. This arrangement, so vital to the peace of the Union, and to the preservation of the separate existence of the States, is, at the same time, full of wisdom, and sound political policy. It introduces, and perpetuates, in the different branches of the Legislature, different elements, which will make the theoretical check, contemplated by the division of the legislative power, more efficient and constant in its operation. The interests, passions, and prejudices of a representative district may thus be controlled by the influence of a whole State; the like interests, passions, and prejudices of a State, or of a majority of the States, may thus be controlled by the voice of a majority of the people of the Union.
$ 74. Secondly, the mode of choosing Senators. They are to be chosen by the Legislature of each State. This mode has a natural tendency to increase the just operation of the check, to which we have already alluded. The people of the States directly choose the Representatives ; the Legislature, whose votes are variously compounded, and whose