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mode of choice is different in different States, directly choose the Senators. - So that it is impossible, that exactly the same influences, interests, and feelings should prevail in the same proportions in each branch. Three schemes were presented in the Convention; une was, a choice directly by the people of the States ; another was, a choice by the national House of Representatives ; and the third was, that which now exists. And, upon mature deliberation, the last will be found to possess a decided preference over either of the other two.
$ 75. Thirdly, the number of Senators. Each State is entitled to two Senators. To ensure competent knowledge, and ability to discharge all the functions entrusted to the Senate, and, at the same time, to give promptitude and efficiency to their acts, the number should not be unreasonably large or small. A very small body is more easily overawed, and intimidated by external influences, than one of a reasonable size, embracing weight of character, and dignity of talents. Numbers alone in many cases confer power, and encourage firmness. If the number of the Senate were confined to one for each State, there would be danger, that it might be too small for a comprehensive knowledge and diligence in all the business devolved upon the body. And besides ;: in such a case, the illness, or accidental absence of a Senator might deprive a State of its vote upon an important question, or its influence in an interesting debate. If, on the other hand, the number were very large, the Senate might become unwieldy, and want dispatch, and due responsibility. It could hardly exercise due deliberation in some functions connected with executive duties, which might, at the same time, require prompt action. If any number beyond one be proper, two seems as convenient a number as any which can be devised. The Senate will not be too large, or too small. The benefit is retained of consultation, and mu. tual interchange of opinion between the members from the same State ; and the number is sufficient to guard against
any undue influence by the more popular branch of the Legislature.
§ 76. Fourthly, the term of service of the Senators. It is for six years, although, as we shall presently see, one third of the members is changed every two years. What is the proper duration of the office, is certainly a matter, upon which different minds may arrive at different conclusions. The term should have reference to the nature and extent of the duties to be performed, the experience to be required, the independence to be secured, and the objects to be attained. A very short duration of office diminishes responsibility, and energy, and public spirit, and firmness of action, by diminishing the motives to great efforts, and also, by diminishing the means of maturing, and carrying into effect wise measures. The Senate has various highly important functions to perform, besides its legislative duties. It partakes of the executive power of appointment to office, and the ratification of public treaties. To perform these functions worthily, the members should enjoy public confidence at home and abroad ; and they should be beyond the reach of the sudden impulses of domestic factions, as well as of foreign influences. They should not be subject to intimidation by the mere seekers of office ; nor be deemed by foreign nations, as having no permanent weight in the administration of the Government. They should be able, on the one hand, to guard the States against usurpations of authority on the part of the National Government; on the other hand, to guard the people against the unconstitutional projects of selfish demagogues. They should have the habits of business, and the large experience in the affairs of Government, derived from a practical concern in them. They should be chosen for a longer period, than the House of Representatives, to prevent sudden and total changes at the same period of all the functionaries of the Government, which necessarily encourage instability in the public councils, and political agitations and rivalries. In all these
respects, the term of office of the Senators seems admirably well adapted to the purposes of an efficient, and yet responsible body. It secures the requisite qualifications of skill, experience, information, and independence. It prevents any sudden changes in the public policy. It induces foreign nations to treat with the Government with more confidence, from the consciousness of the permanence of its councils. It commands a respect at home, which enables it to resist any undue inroads of the popular branch; and, at the same time, its duration is not so long, as to take away a pressing sense of responsibility to the People, and the States.
$77. But, in order to quiet the last lingering scruples of jealousy on this head, the next clause of the Constitution provides for a change of one third of the members every two years. It declares — Immediately after they (the Senators) 'shall be assembled, in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be, into three classes. • The seats of the Senators of the first class, shall be vacated
at the expiration of every second year ; of the second class, at the expiration of every fourth year; and of the third
class, at the expiration of every sixth year; so that one third * may be chosen every second year.' So that the whole body is gradually changed in the course of the six years, always retaining a large portion of experience, and yet incapable of combining together for any sinister purposes. No person would probably propose a less duration of office for the Senators, than double the period of that of the members of the House. In effect, this provision, within the same period, changes the composition of two thirds of the body.
As vacancies may occur in the Senate during the recess of the State Legislatures, it became indispensable to provide for that exigency, in order to preserve the full right of representation of each State in that body. Accordingly, the same clause declares 'And if any vacancies happen by resignatio, or otherwise, during the recess of the Legis
'lature of any State, the executive thereof may make tem'porary appointments, until the next meeting of the Legisla'ture, which shall then fill such vacancies.' This mode seems as unexceptionable, as any which could be adopted. It enables the executive of the State to appoint a temporary Senator, when the State Legislature is not in session. One of three courses only seemed open; either to allow the vacancy to remain unfilled, which would deprive the State of its due vote; or to allow the State Legislature prospectively to provide for the vacancy, by a contingent appointment, which might be liable to some objections of a different character; or to confide a temporary appointment to the highest State functionary, who might well be presumed to enjoy the public confidence, and be devoted to the public interest.
§ 79. We next come to the qualifications of Senators. • No person shall be a Senator, who shall not have attained
age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the • United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an in'habitant of that State, for which he shall be chosen.' As the nature of the duties of a Senator require more experience, knowledge, and stability of character, than those of a Representative, the qualification of age is accordingly raised. A person may be a Representative at twenty-five years ; but he cannot be a Senator until thirty years. Citizenship also is required, the propriety of which qualification cannot be doubted. The term of citizenship of a Representative is seven years; that of a Senator is nine
years. for increasing the term in the latter case, is the direct connexion of the Senate with foreign nations in the appointment of ambassadors, and in the formation of treaties. This prolonged term may well be required of a foreigner, not only to give him a more thorough knowledge of the interests of his adopted country; but also to wean him more effectually from those of his native country. The next qualification is, inhabitancy in the State; and the propriety of this is almost se!f.
evident, since an inhabitant may not only be presumed to be better acquainted with the local interests, and wants and pursuits of the State ; but may, also, well be deemed to feel a higher degree of responsibility to the State, than any stranger. He will, also, personally share more fully in the effects of all measures, touching the sovereignty, rights, and influence of the State.
$ 80. In concluding this topic, it is proper to remark, that no qualification whatever, as to property, is required in regard to Senators, any more than in regard to Representatives. Merit and talent have, therefore, the freest access open to them into each branch of the Legislature. Under such circumstances, if the choice of the people is but directed by a suitable sobriety of judgment, the Senate cannot fail of being distinguished for wisdom, for learning, for exalted patriotismn, for incorruptible integrity, and for inflexible independence.
$81. The next clause respects the person who shall preside in the deliberations of the Senate. -'The Vice Presi'dent of the United States shall be President of the Senate, 'but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.' "The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a 'President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.'
$ 82. The propriety of creating the office of Vice President will be reserved for future consideration, when the organization of the Executive Department shall come under review. The reasons, why he is authorized to preside in the Senate, belong appropriately to this place. The strong motive for this arrangement undoubtedly arose from State jealousy, and State equality in the Senate. If the presiding officer of the Senate were to be chosen exclusively from its own members, it was supposed, that the State, upon which the choice might fall, might possess more or less, than its due share of influence.