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The Senate and the United States Constitution

Scene at the Signing the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

For nearly five months, the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention debated the provisions in the U.S. Constitution. Several of the Senate-related clauses were especially controversial.  What special powers and responsibilities would the Senate have in this new federal government? Would representation in the Senate be based upon a state's population, or would each state have an equal voice, regardless of size? It took the Great Compromise of 1787 to settle that issue.


Connecticut Compromise Mural

The Connecticut Compromise

In 2006, the U.S. Senate Commission on Art unveiled a mural depicting the authors of the Connecticut Compromise–Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth. The mural, painted by Bradley Stevens, is affixed to the wall of the Senate Reception Room.

The Federalist

The Federalist was first published in book form in 1788, following a serial run of individual articles in New York newspapers from October of 1787 to August of 1788. Authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, but printed with the signature of "Publius," these 85 articles argued for ratification of the United States Constitution and explained the proposed function and operation of the new government. Republished many times over the past two centuries, the Federalist papers remain a principal source for interpretation of the Constitution and for understanding the ideas and intentions of its framers.


Senators who became President

Senate Presents Portrait of Senator Thomas A. Daschle



Senate Historical Office
Facts & Milestones
Historical Statistics
Senate Archives
Photographic Collection
Senate Timeline


Office of the Senate Curator
Senate Catalogue of Fine Art
Senate Catalogue of Graphic Art
Image Reproduction Requests

Virtual Reference Desk

Featured Biographies

History of Senate Desks
            Desk Assignments

Brumidi, Artist of the Capitol

Classic Senate Speeches

Photo Exhibits

Famous Five, Now Nine

Leader's Lecture Series

McCarthy Hearings Released

A list of Senators for whom we have no photo or other image in our collection. If you have an image, or information that may lead us to an image, please contact us.