How was the new Congress to be set up? How many members could each state send to Congress? These were big questions. It was a debate between big and small states.
Virginia was a big state. The Virginians suggested that the number of members be decided by the number of people who lived in the state.
A smaller state, New Jersey, suggested that all states have the same number of members.
The Great Compromise
Connecticut came up with what is called “The Great Compromise.”
This plan set up two lawmaking groups, or “houses,” as they are called. The House of Representatives was to be based on the number of people living in each state.
The other house, the Senate, was to have the same number of members (two) from each state. Laws had to be passed by both houses.
The Constitution is divided into seven articles. Each article has different sections. Article I deals with the legislative branch.
The Legislative Branch will consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
A member of the House of Representatives:
- must be at least 25 years old.
- must be a citizen of the United States for at least seven years.
- is elected for a two-year term.
A member of the Senate:
- must be at least 30 years old.
- must be a citizen of the United States for at least nine years.
- is elected for a six- year term.
This section addresses when elections are to be held and when the Congress shall meet.
Deals with the important ways Congress does its business. Each house of Congress can set its own rules. Each house is to keep a journal, or official record.
Members of Congress are paid by the U.S. government. They cannot serve any other government while in Congress.
Explains how a bill becomes a law.
Lists the enumerated powers of Congress.
Lists the limitations on the powers of Congress.