State Suffrage

State Suffrage

State suffrage within the upper house 

For Moderate Confederalists, many of whom come from small states, equal representation in the senate is the Convention’s primary issue. It is primary as well for many of the state legislatures, which in some instances have instructed their delegates to bolt the Convention if the decision goes against them. The small states demand an equal voice in the national legislature in accordance with past practices and confederal theory, where the contracting parties are states, each an equal regardless of population or wealth. Since the lower house is organized on the principle of proportionality, it is imperative that the organization of the upper house reflect the equality of the states. Otherwise a coterie of large states will set policy for the remainder. Confederalists are likely to support you, including those from large states, because they too respect confederal theory.

A winning argument for you might be the size of the upper house if proportional representation is adopted. For the upper house must have eighty or more senators in order for the least populous state to be entitled to just one. But the Nationalists want a small upper house to serve as an aristocratic check on the democratic lower house. How can the Nationalists have their aristocratic senate if proportional representation inflates its size?

In your paper, explain the importance of equal state voting in the senate to a state like Delaware, and threaten to call upon the assistance of foreign powers if equality is denied to the small states. (See Convention speech by Bedford, June 30, in FC, vol. 2, p. 197.)

550-600 words

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