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Founders / Framers Minute: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3

The Senate would be composed of older and hopefully more mature citizens who had been longer situated in the country and in the state they would represent.

Founders / Framers Minute: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3

Founders / Framers Minute 9:

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”

by Cornel Rasor

In Federalist 63, Madison commented on the need for a Senate composed of older citizens and that would have a longer term of office. He also averred that such a body would even serve as a bulwark against improper public passions:

To a people as little blinded by prejudice, or corrupted by flattery, as those whom I address, I shall not scruple to add, that such an institution may be sometimes necessary, as a defence to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions. As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought in all governments, and actually will in all free governments ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.”

Thus the Senate would be composed of older and hopefully more mature citizens who had been longer situated in the country and in the state they would represent. Even the anti-federalist detractors allowed that since “they are designed to represent the aristocracy of the country, it seems fit they should possess more stability, and so continue a longer period than that branch who represent the democracy.”

The great concern was that the Senate would properly attend to representation of the States since the House would attend to the representation of the people. A second concern was that it be composed of wise individuals since it was to “advise” the President thus the clauses that contain the word “advice” in Article 2. Roger Sherman noted “The senate is a convenient body to advise the president, from the smallness of its numbers.”

In one of the more interesting sidelines of the convention, Charles Pinkney moved that the Executive and members of the legislature be required to own a substantial amount of unencumbered property. Debate was lively but as Madison recorded, this was rejected strenuously when he noted “The Motion of Mr. Pinkney was rejected by so general a no, that the States were not called.”

Much of the continued dissent revolved around the length of term of office. Those in favor of 2-4 years argued that bad actors with a longer term would prolong governmental injustices. Those in favor of the longer 7 year term argued that a condition of stability would be had with the combination of the short House term and the longer Senate term.

In the end, a six year term prevailed and as James Madison noted in a letter to Thomas Jefferson on October of 1787, the composition and term of the Senate, “the great anchor of the Government” was finally agreed upon.

Founders / Framers Minute 1: Article I, Section 1

Founders / Framers Minute 2: Article I, Section 2, Clause 1-2

Founders / Framers Minute 3: Article I, Section 2, Clause 3a

Founders / Framers Minute 4: Article I, Section 2, Clause 3b

Founders / Framers Minute 5: Article I, Section 2, Clause 4

Founders / Framers Minute 6: Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

Founders / Framers Minute 7: Article I, Section 3, Clause 1

Founders / Framers Minute 8: Article I, Section 3, Clause 2


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1 Comment on Founders / Framers Minute: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3

  1. “It is not merely the number of impeachments, that are to be expected to make public officers honest and attentive in their business. A general opinion must pervade the community, that the house, the body to impeach them for misconduct, is disinterested, and ever watchful for the public good; and that the judges who shall try impeachments, will not feel a shadow of biass. Under such circumstances, men will not dare transgress, who, not deterred by such accusers and judges, would repeatedly misbehave. We have already suffered many and extensive evils, owing to the defects of the confederation, in not providing against the misconduct of public officers. When we expect the law to be punctually executed, not one man in ten thousand will disobey it: it is the probable chance of escaping punishment that induces men to transgress. It is one important mean to make the government just and honest, rigidly and constantly to hold, before the eyes of those who execute it, punishment, and dismission from office, for misconduct. These are principles no candid man, who has just ideas of the essential features of a free government, will controvert. They are, to be sure, at this period, called visionary, speculative and anti-governmental—but in the true stile of courtiers, selfish politicians, and flatterers of despotism—discerning republican men of both parties see their value. They are said to be of no value, by empty boasting advocates for the constitution, who, by their weakness and conduct, in fact, injure its cause much more than most of its opponents. From their high sounding promises, men are led to expect a defence of it, and to have their doubts removed. When a number of long pieces appear, they, instead of the defence, &c. they expected, see nothing but a parade of names—volumes written without ever coming to the point—cases quoted between which and ours there is not the least similitude—and partial extracts made from histories and governments, merely to serve a purpose. Some of them, like the true admirers of royal and senatorial robes, would fain prove, that nations who have thought like freemen and philosophers about government, and endeavoured to be free, have often been the most miserable: if a single riot, in the course of five hundred years happened in a free country, if a salary, or the interest of a public or private debt was not paid at the moment, they seem to lay more stress upon these truffles (for truffles they are in a free and happy country) than upon the oppressions of despotic government for ages together. (As to the lengthy writer in New-York you mention, I have attentively examined his pieces; he appears to be a candid good-hearted man, to have a good stile, and some plausible ideas; but when we carefully examine his pieces, to see where the strength of them lies; when the mind endeavours to fix on those material parts, which ought to be the essence of all voluminous productions, we do not find them: the writer appears constantly to move on a smooth surface, the part of his work, like the parts of a cob-house, are all equally strong and all equally weak, and all like those works of the boys, without an object; his pieces appear to have but little relation to the great question, whether the constitution is fitted to the condition and character of this people or not.)”
    Federal Farmer (Richard Henry lee, 6th President of the actual Federation)
    JANUARY 14, 1788.

    Can it be admitted by anyone today that the name took by the Nationalists was fake? I mean clearly as day is day and night is night the group that called themselves the Federalists were frauds, so why are people silent on this point?

    If people want to know why there are Rinos today, these frauds today, then it might be a good idea to see for yourself, if you are interested at all in preserving a federation, defending a federation, in the federation interest, that something happened along the way to afford these frauds their ability to get away with treason.

    Why is this at all hard to see? Why would the question be incapable of inspiring a reasonable response?

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