Why does each state have 2 senators? Why not 1 per state? Or 3? Yes, it's in the constitution, but why?


E=mc2 .. You misunderstand the question. I'm not asking why we have a senate. I'm asking why we have two senators per state.

Loser: Your biblical interpretation is interesting. Is there any evidence that this is what the Constitution's framers had in mind? If so, why not 3 senators, for the holy trinity, or 10 for the commandments, or 12 for the apostles?

Update 2:

Richard: Thanks, but I'm asking specifically about senators, not about the house. We get two senators per state.

Update 3:

David: Actually, there's a provision that allows for changing the constitution. It's been used numerous times, and not only by libs. But at the moment, I'm not suggesting that we change anything. I'm just asking a "why" question.

Update 4:

lmn78744: Those are some great reasons -- and based on your logic, it seems that 2 per state is an excellent idea. Do you happen to know whether these reasons were what actually motivated the framers of the constitution?

Update 5:

Capixaba: Impressive research you've done. Thanks so much. Your link doesn't work for me, though. Does it require membership?

Update 6:

Gosam: Thanks. Some interesting ideas. But I don't see how maintaining an even number of senators maintains any sort of balance, or why that would even be desirable. Currently, when the vote is tied, the VP casts the deciding vote, which is inconvenient at best.

Also, re another of your points -- did the framers of the constitution anticipate the role of committees and seniority in the senate? I may be wrong, but I thought that came about later.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I found the following answer at http://amhist.ist.unomaha.edu/module_files/Two%20S...

    Once delegates established equal representation in the Senate, they needed to determine how many senators would represent each state. State constitutions offered some guidance. Several states designated one senator per county or district, while in Delaware there were three senators for each of the three counties. Convention delegates did not refer to the state precedents in debate, however. Instead, they seemed to take a common-sense approach in deciding the number of senators.

    According to constitutional commentator Joseph Story (1779-1845), few, if any, delegates considered one senator per state sufficient representation. Lone senators might leave their state unrepresented in times of illness or absence, and would have no colleague to consult with on state issues. Additional senators, moreover, would increase the size of the Senate, making it a more knowledgeable body, and better able to counter the influence of the House. On the other hand, a very large Senate would soon lose its distinctive membership and purpose, and actually decrease its ability to check the lower house or to allow senators to take personal responsibility for their actions.

    Given these considerations, delegates had a limited choice regarding the number of senators. During the convention, they briefly discussed the advantages of two seats versus three. Gouverneur Morris stated that three senators per state were necessary to form an acceptable quorum, while other delegates thought a third senator would be too costly. On July 23, delegates filled in the blank in the proposal offered by Morris and Rufus King: “That the representation in the second branch consist of _____ members from each State, who shall vote per capita.” Only Pennsylvania voted in favor of three senators.

    When the question turned to two, Maryland alone voted against the measure, not because of the number, but because Martin disagreed with per capita voting, which gave each senator, rather than each state, one vote.

  • 1 decade ago

    Originally Senators were elected by each states legislature, not by popular vote. The 17th amendment changed it. The concept was the House represented the people, the Senate represented the states.

    As I understand it, 2 was chosen simply to maintain balance of power. There were not always an even number of states So if there were 49 states, and each state had 1 or 3 Senators, there would be 49, or 147 Senators, and they wanted majority votes won with balance, So it was to maintain an even number regardless of number of states at any one time.

    Other reasons were most legislation only requires simple majority based on the number that actually are present and votes. States feared if their one Senator was absent, they would have no representation on that vote.

    Also, the Senate is made up with committees. Rank is normally determined by seniority. With one Senator, upon retirement or death, the state would lose any seniority status in the committees. Whereas with two, in theory, each state would maintain seniority in the committees. .

  • 4 years ago

    Senators For Each State

  • Doug B
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Interesting question. I'd guess that it was avoid having the Senate become akin to the House of Lords. Two Senators means that each state has two voices in the upper house, and two opinions on issues.

    As an aside, I'd love to see the 17th Amendment repealed and the selection of Senators given back to state legislatures. The idea was that the House of Representatives spoke for the people, the Senate spoke for the states. We've gotten away from that.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Read your civics book and the constitution. We fought the revolution over taxation without representation. The people are there to fully represent our states and make sure the government is doing our bidding. But that was before they all began taking money from the lobbyist and special interest groups so they can be reelected. Now its a joke. A banana republic full of the representatives and senators who care more about their own money, fame and power then they do about protecting our language, culture and borders.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We the people in order to form a more perfect union. Notice it says more perfect , not perfect, which is probably unattainable. I don't see why all you libs want to change a constitution that has made us the greatest nation on earth. Our form of government has served us quite well over the years. Yes we have had our ups and downs but I wouldn't trade our system of government in favor of any other that currently exists. Our republic is probably the best thought out system of government anywhere. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

  • 1 decade ago

    1) Allows a State to still have representation if one Senator is incapable of serving for some reason.

    2) Allows for some balance of views, rather than a single person's viewpoint only for that State.

    3) Allows States to change political course midway (Each Senator is elected years apart from each other) without having to get rid of an existing Senator.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because two divided by itself is one. One plus one is two. It takes two to tango. It takes one to two-step. No matter how you look at it, it all boils down to two except in very extreme cases which we do not have here in the us of a.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because 2 are a witness, no need for 3 & one is not enough. And that my friend can be found in the Bible.

  • 1 decade ago

    Everyone knows you can't leave one politician alone or he goes crooked. They are supposed to watch each other , kind of like a nuclear "no lone zone".

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