Congress and the Constitution

The Nature of Representation in the U.S. Congress

Clock 90 minutes

The framers of the Constitution set up a system of representation for the United States, which although informed by the experiences of other republics, was different from them. The Constitution establishes the legislature and the executive as two independent, but closely connected, branches. Members of the U.S. Congress experience a fundamental tension between being a trustee for the interests of the people and being their delegate. They also must balance the demands of the district with the interest of the nation, as well as determining the appropriate level of political party loyalty.

Founding Principles

Civic Virtue image

Civic Virtue

A set of actions and habits necessary for the safe, effective, and mutually beneficial participation in a society.

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Representative / Republican Government

Form of government in which the people are sovereign (the ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.

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Separation of Powers

A system of distinct powers built into the Constitution to prevent an accumulation of power in one branch.

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