The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.13.  It will be seen by reference to the constitution, that the number of representatives was for the time fixed at sixty-five.  After the first census, taken in 1790, the ratio was fixed at 33,000, which gave the house 106 members.  After the census of 1800, the same ratio was adopted, and the number of members was 142.

After 1810, the ratio was 35,000; number of members 182. 
After 1820, the ratio was 40,000; number of members 213. 
After 1830, the ratio was 47,700; number of members 240. 
After 1840, the ratio was 70,680; number of members 233.

After 1850, the ratio was 93,000 and a fraction, making the number of members 233, of which California had one; but in view of her rapid increase in population, she was allowed an additional member, making, in all, 234.  Minnesota has since been admitted into the Union (1858) with two members, and Oregon (1859) with one member.

Sec.14.  Representatives are chosen by districts.  Each state is divided by the legislature into as many districts as there are representatives to be elected in the state; and one representative is chosen in each district.  In most of the states, representatives are chosen at the general state election; in the others, there are special elections for choosing representatives.

Sec.15.  By an act of congress, every territory belonging to the United States in which a government has been established, is entitled to send a delegate to congress, who has a right to take a part in the debates of the house, but not the right of voting.

Chapter XXX.

The Senate.

Sec.1.  “The senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state; chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.” (Art.  I, sec. 3.) The convention readily agreed upon dividing congress into two branches; but, as has been observed, it was difficult to settle the mode of representation.  The delegates from the large states insisted upon a representation in proportion to numbers, in the senate as well as in the house; and the small states contended for equality in both branches.  The debate was long and animated; and it became apparent that, as in the case of slave representation in the house, there must be a compromise.  This was at length effected; the small states consenting to a proportional representation in the house, and the large states to an equal representation in the senate.

Sec.2.  It has been remarked, that the federative principle of the old system has been to some extent retained in the constitution.  Both the equality of representation in the senate, and the election of senators by the state legislatures, are in strict conformity with the plan of the confederation, and of simple confederacies generally.  Different modes of electing senators were proposed; but the one adopted by the convention seems preferable to any other.

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