Article I, Section 1

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

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Published on October 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. The first section of Article I states that all legislative powers–the ability to create laws–of the new government reside in the Congress. Furthermore, the section says that the Congress will consist of two chambers: a Senate and a House of Representatives. A “bicameral” model was proposed by Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, as well as by the Virginians in their “Virginia Plan.” While the Articles of Confederation Congress had been only one chamber, the bicameral model would have been familiar to delegates at the Constitutional Convention since most state legislatures had two chambers (Pennsylvania being a notable exception), and of course, British Parliament has two: the House of Lords and House of Commons. The Virginia Plan differed from Sherman’s plan in that both bodies would reflect representation by population, not one as proportional and the other as equal as in Sherman’s plan (which was ultimately approved under the “Grand Compromise”). The name “Senate” harkens back to the body of elder statesmen that existed under the Roman Republic and Empire. The name “House of Representatives” was probably borrowed from Parliament, but unlike like “Lords” and “Commons,” “Representatives” doesn’t convey any class distinction.


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