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Article 1, Section 3

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years;
The Senate will have two representatives from each State, chosen by the LEGISLATURE1 of that state, and will serve for six years

and each Senator shall have one Vote.
And each Senator shall have one vote on all matters (making each state equal in votes)

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes.
After the first election of Senators, all senators shall be divided into three classes, as equally as possible

The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year,
The seats of all Senators within the first class shall be vacated after the second year of the Senators’ service2

of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year,
The seats of all Senators within the second class shall be vacated after the fourth year of the Senators’ service2

and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year,
The seats of all Senators within the third class shall be vacated after the sixth year of the Senators’ service2

so that one third may be chosen every second Year;
so that one third of the Senate seats may be elected every second year2

and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments
and if a Senator resigns, or his seat is otherwise vacated, while his State’s Legislature is not in session, the Governor may make a temporary appointment to fill that seat

until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.
until the next meeting of the State Legislature, where the Legislature will choose a permanent replacement

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.
To be eligible to serve as a Senator, one must be at least 30 years old, be a U.S.-born citizen or a naturalized citizen of the U.S. for nine years, and be a citizen of the State for which he is elected to be Senator.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The President of the Senate shall be the Vice President of the United States; he shall have no voting power unless the Senators’ votes are equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse 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.
The Senate shall choose their officers within the Senate. They will also choose a President pro tempore of the Senate if the Vice President is absent from a session or if he is filling the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
The Senate shall have the only power to hold trial over all impeachments (remember the H.R. has sole power to impeach)

When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.
When in session to try an impeachment, they will all be on Oath or Affirmation (just as a Judge is sworn by Oath or Affirmation)

When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
When a president is being impeached, the Chief Justice will preside over the trial process. A conviction will occur only with two thirds of the Senators present agreeing to convict

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States:
Impeachment will not go further than to remove the convicted party from office, and to disqualify that person from holding any “Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States” (primarily any public office)3

but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
but the person convicted through impeachment shall still be liable and subject to other trials and punishments, according to law3


My notes:

Our Founders (as I’ve mentioned before) put a lot of deep thought, fierce arguments, and hard work into creating our Constitution.  So I believe when they put something into writing within our founding document, they meant exactly what they wrote. Note 1, about the selection of our Senators, specifically states their intent, and was a matter of contention during the creation of the Constitution (Virginia Plan vs. New Jersey Plan).

1The Great Compromise settled the differences between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. One of the arguments was over whether our Congress would be elected by the people or by the States. The Great Compromise between the two sides was that Congress would be comprised of two houses: the House of Representatives, whose members would be directly by the people; and the Senate, whose members would be selected by the State Legislatures.

The House was selected by the people to represent the people’s interests, and served only two years, so that elected officials would have the people’s current interests at heart.  The Senate would be selected by the State Legislatures to prevent “mob rule” within our Government and to keep States’ interests at heart, and served for six years, also to prevent elected officials from being swayed by every ebb and flow of politics.

However, the Seventeenth Amendment, as we’ll see in a later note, converted the election of the Senate to popular vote. It was ratified in 1913, under President Woodrow Wilson, a progressive idealist.  He knew that the conversion of Senatorial elections to popular vote would make it easier to push progressive bills into law. This “mob rule” was exactly why our Founders set up a bicameral legislature, one house elected by the States, and the other elected by the people of those States.

2Senators were to serve for six years to prevent a constant sway to popular opinion.  However, our Founders realized that it was also important for our Senators to be up-to-date with current affairs.  Remember that technology and transportation did not allow congressmen to travel back and forth or to stay in constant contact with their constituency. This meant that  Senators would have to travel long distances for long periods of times to attend Senate sessions; therefore they would get a pulse on what their State wanted accomplished on Capitol Hill. Many times new events “back home” occurred that may have resulted in new or changed needs for those States.

In those days, politics was never meant to be a “career”.  Representatives in our government were exactly that…people representative of their society.  They were farmers, blacksmiths, businessmen, lawyers…everyday “average Joes”.  They were elected to office because they had a true understanding of what their neighbors, their community, and their State needed.  So they would go to Washington, D.C., to make their communities voices heard, make their mark, and come back home to continue their normal trade.  So the likelihood was high that after six years of a Senator in office, there would be someone new…someone who had the current pulse of their State.

The Constitution set up the three classes of Senators, with one of the three being replaced every two years.  This was another measure implemented to ensure that States’ current needs were being represented in our national Senate, just as our people’s current needs were insured to be represented by limiting House representative terms to two years.

3Impeachment was used solely for removing officials who’ve broken the law or broken the trust of the people from office.  A conviction by impeachment did not result in criminal or civil law conviction.  However, as the second clause of this statement says, they “shall still be liable and subject to other trials and punishments, according to law.”


© 2011 Ike Chisholm

All additional materials contained in this work are the ideas and works of the author. Use of these works is forbidden without expressed permission from the author.  The text of the Constitution is not copyrighted. It is not the author’s intent to claim the text of the Constitution as his own.

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