Historical Almanac of the U.S. Senate

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Author: Robert J. Dole  | Date: September 17, 1787

United States Senate Created

On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates to the Constitutional Consigned the Constitution of the United States. Among the many significant consequences of their action was the creation of the United States Senate.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the few convention delegates to oppose a two-house legislature. It is fitting, then, to read from his final statement to the convention:

Quote I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others….

Quote In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, . . . I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded….

Franklin concluded, "Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best."

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Chicago: Robert J. Dole, "United States Senate Created," Historical Almanac of the U.S. Senate: A Series of Bicentennial Minutes Presented to the Senate During the One Hundredth Congress (Washington, D.C.: U.S Government Printing Office, 1989), in Original Sources, accessed January 21, 2020, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3TMYQ9U3KTGIHZY.

MLA: Dole, Robert J. "United States Senate Created." Historical Almanac of the U.S. Senate: A Series of Bicentennial Minutes Presented to the Senate During the One Hundredth Congress, Washington, D.C., U.S Government Printing Office, 1989, in , Original Sources. 21 Jan. 2020. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3TMYQ9U3KTGIHZY.

Harvard: Dole, RJ 1989, 'United States Senate Created' in Historical Almanac of the U.S. Senate: A Series of Bicentennial Minutes Presented to the Senate During the One Hundredth Congress, U.S Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.. cited in , . Original Sources, retrieved 21 January 2020, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3TMYQ9U3KTGIHZY.