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State of New York, for instance, can have but two senators; but at present, 1868, has thirty-one members of the other house.
2d. The responsible duty of trying all impeachments devolves on the Senate ; and from their decision there is no appeal.
3d. A senator holds for the term of six years; a representative, for but two. If a senator proves incompetent or unfaithful, and fails to give satisfaction, six years' term of office will prove burdensome to his constituency. On the other hand, the representative term is so short, that unfaithfulness or incompetency will cause but comparatively little inconvenience before he must meet his constituency at the ballot-box.
4th. On the Senate rests the grave responsibility of deciding on the fitness of executive nominations to office.
5th. In the Senate is vested, jointly with the executive, the prerogative of treaty-making.
$ 3. Eligibility to the senatorial office requires a United States citizenship of nine years. This feature was debated in the Convention with great spirit and earnestness. Some members were in favor of requiring but four years, some seven, some nine, some ten, others thirteen, still others fourteen ; and a few preferred that American nativity be required. Nearly all seemed averse to admitting strangers to a seat in the Senate. There were a small number of members, however, in favor of requiring no specified period, but simply that the incumbent should be a citizen.
§ 4. No one can regard the condition a hardship that requires a residence and citizenship of sufficient time to enable the party to demonstrate his attachment to our institutions, and form of government, and to give evidence of his determination to make our country his permanent home.
$ 5. The laws of Congress require five years' residence before an alien can become naturalized, and the Constitution nine years' citizenship before he can hold the office of United-States senator ; making fourteen years' residence necessary before he is eligible to a seat in that body.
§ 6. That a senator should be an inhabitant of the State for which he is chosen is a condition so reasonable, that it was accepted
by the Convention without debate. It was inserted in every proposed draft of the Constitution; the only alteration being the striking out of the word “ resident,” and inserting the word “ inhabitant.”
$ 7. But it must be observed, that necessity of inhabitancy is limited to the time when chosen. A senator chosen for New York, for instance, does not vacate bis seat in the Senate by changing his residence to any other State during the term for which he was elected. It might be in the highest degree proper that he should resign ; but that is a matter within his own discretion.
§ 8. A member of Congress must not be encumbered with any office under the government of the United States. If he holds any such office at the time of his election to Congress, he must resign it before he can take his seat. This applies to membership of either house.
$ 9. The senatorial office is not an office under the government of the United States within the meaning of the Constitution. This was decided by the Senate itself at a very early period (1799), when Senator Blount was impeached by the House, and brought before the Senate for trial.
§ 10. The authors of the Constitution considered the duties of any office under the United States as incompatible with the faithful discharge of the duties of senator or representative. In several proposed drafts of the Constitution in the Convention, a clause was inserted, rendering a member of either house ineligible to any office under the United States for several years after the expiration of his legislative term. But it was finally agreed to confine the disability to the period of membership.
ART. III.-TERM. The senatorial term is six years. 8.
§ 1. The senatorial term was another subject of earnest debate in the Convention, and on which, at first, there was great difference of opinion. The terms of three, four, five, six, seven, and nine years, were severally proposed ; and each had its advocates. Several members were in favor of extending the term for life, or during good behavior.
§ 2. All were in favor of a term sufficiently long to insure to the office dignity, stability, and independence. A term of two or three years was believed to be quite too short for a fair trial on any measure of importance on which there might be an almost equal division of opinion.
$ 3. On the other hand, it was contended that a term of eight or ten years, or for life, might lead a senator to forget his home respon. sibility. He might be persistent in measures known to be adverso to the best interests of the country, merely from pride of opinion, or from the more objectionable spirit of obstinacy. Six years was probably not the choice of half the members of the Convention ; bui that term was adopted as a compromise of the extremes.
ART. IV.- BY WHOM CHOSEN.
By the legislatures of the several States. 8.
§ 1. There were several propositions in the Constitutional Con. vention on the subject of this article. The first was by Edmund Randolph of Virginia, who opened the business of the Convention. He presented an outline of what he thought the new Constitution should contain. In that outline, it was proposed that the senators should be elected by the House of Representatives, on nomination by the legislatures of the several States.
§ 2. A second plan proposed was, that the senators shall be cho. sen by the people of the several States, by direct vote, in the same inanner as the members of the House of Representatives are chosen.
$ 3. A third plan was, that senators shall be appointed by the President of the United States, from nominations made by the legislatures of the several States.
$ 4. A fourth plan proposed to unite several representative districts into a senatorial district, an! let the people elect the senators by direct vote.
$ 5. A fifth plan was, that the people by direct vote elect senato rial electors, and that these electors should elect the senators.
§ 6. And still another plan was, that United-States senators shall be chosen by the legislatures of the several States. This plan pre vailed, The principal reason that led to a decision in favor of this
proposition was, that senators represent their respective States in their political capacity, and are not regarded as representatives of the people. It was the intention of the authors of the Constitution that the Senate should be a far more grave, dignified, and aristo cratic body than the House.
MODE OF ELECTION OF SENATORS.
NOTE. By act of Congress, passed July 26, 1866, relating to the election of United-States senators by the State legislatures, it is provided,
1st. That each House shall, by a vote vivâ voce of each member present, on the second Tuesday after the meeting and organization thereof, name a person for senator.
2d. On the day following, the two houses shall meet in joint assembly; and, if the same person shall have received a majority of all the votes cast in each house, he shall be declared duly elected senator of the United States.
3d. If no person has received such majorities, then the joint assembly shall choose, by a vivâ voce vote, a person for senator; and the
person who shall receive a majority of all the votes of the joint assembly, a majority of the members of each house being present. shall be declared duly elected.
4th. If such senator is not elected on the first day, the joint assembly shall meet, and take at least one vote per day, during the entire session of the legislature, or until a senator shall be elected.
5th. In relation to vacancies, the act provides, that, when one exists at a meeting of the legislature, the same proceedings shall be had on the second Tuesday after their meeting and organization.
6th. When a vacancy shall happen during the session of the legislature, like proceedings shall be had, beginning with the second Tuesday after notice of such vacancy shall have been received.
7th. The Governor of the State shall certify the election of a senator to the President of the United States.
ART. V. - WHEN CHOSEN.
One-third the number of senators shall be chosen every second year. 9.
This must necessarily be so, on account of the mode of classifying the senators which the Constitution prescribes, and which it directs to take place at the first organization of the Senate under the new government. Only one-third of the senators being chosen every second
year, and but one-third retiring every second year, the Senate must always be constituted of members, one-third of whom have had at least four years of legislative experience, and of another third who have had at least two.
HOW CLASSED. Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes : 1. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated
at the expiration of the second year. 2. Of the second class, at the expiration of the fourth year. 3. Of the third class, at the expiration of the sixth year. 9.
§ 1. There was unanimity of opinion in the Constitutional Convention on the propriety of rendering the Senate a perpetual body. The prerogatives with which it is invested, and the duties required of it, render this indispensable ; and it was therefore agreed to with but little or no discussion.
§ 2. The number of senators at first was twenty-six, there being thirteen States in the Union, and two senators from each State ; though all were not present at the first classification. Were each of these senators to serve for six years, their terms would all expire at the same time. But the plan was, that one-third should retire every
second year : hence it was necessary to adopt some method by which to determine who should go out at the end of two years, who at the end of four, and who at the end of six.
§ 3. The first proposition before the Convention was, that this should be done by lot; and it was so inserted in the proposed draft of the Constitution. But this was erased on motion of Mr. Madison, so as to leave the Senate at liberty to adopt some method by which to prevent the election of two senators at the same time, and from the same State, for a full term of six years.