United States Constitution

PREAMBLE : We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution



Article 1, Section 3

Text of Article 1, Section 3:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgement in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgement and Punishment, according to Law.

The 'Travis Translation' of Article 1, Section 3:
Clause 1: [Originally, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures, but the 17th Amendment changed it so people in the states voted directly for Senators.]

Clause 2: The Senate of the United States will have two Senators from each state elected every six years. Each Senator has one vote in the Senate. After the first election of Senators in the U.S., they will divide themselves into three groups, each picking a term of two, four, and six years for their first term so after that, one-third of the Senators are elected every two years. If a Senator leaves office or dies, the Governor of the State will pick someone to be the Senator until the next election.

Clause 3: To be a Senator, you have to be 30 years old, be a citizen of the United States for nine years, and live in the state that elects you.

Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States will be the President of the Senate, but only gets to vote if there is a tie.

Clause 5: The Senate gets to pick another President of the Senate for the times when the Vice President cannot be there.

Clause 6: The Senate will hold the trials for people the House of Representatives impeaches. If the Senate is trying someone on impeachment (to kick someone out of office), everyone has to swear to tell the truth. If the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice of the United States is in charge. But nobody can get kicked out of office unless two-thirds of the Senators present vote for it.

Clause 7: People impeached by Congress cannot be elected or appointed to another office. But if somebody gets impeached and then gets kicked out of office, he or she may still be tried before a jury for any crimes, like the law says.

The third section of Article I sets up the Senate.

As is still the practice today, the Constitution established that members of the Senate would be elected every six years, in two year increments. This means that, for example, in 1966, there was an election for 1/3 of the Senators. Those elected were not up for reelection again until 1972. But in 1968, there was also an election – for another 1/3 of the Senators, who served until 1974. And in 1970, there was an election for another 1/3 of the Senators, who served until 1976. There are two Senators per state, no matter the state’s population. Therefore, today, there are exactly 100 Senators (for 50 states). Additionally, the Constitution established, among other provisions of Article I, that Senators needed to be at least 30 years old, that the Vice-President of the United States casts a tie-breaking vote when necessary, and that the Senate is responsible for trying someone who has been impeached by the House.

Importantly, originally – as is stated in this section – Senators were chosen by the state legislatures. It was only with the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913 that Senators, like Representatives, were also elected directly by the people.