A bicameral system means having two different houses in the government which take care of different queries. For example, the US political system is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. These two bodies make up the US Congress. It also follows a unicameral system where all members of the legislature vote as a single group.
Working of the US bicameral system
As mentioned above, there are two different chambers for a bicameral legislature. Both chambers have different rules and methods of selecting members and organizations regarding how they can execute and take responsibility for their duties. Apart from the legislative branch, the executive and the judiciary are the two other branches of the US [political system, which are responsible for taking necessary actions to ensure a smooth government.
There are practical and historical reasons for the US to have two houses in their government. The practical reason is to ensure the smooth running of government by dividing duties among different operations to keep law and order in check and cater to the needs of the people. Hence, by dividing powers among parties, the legislative will not have much power over the other bodies, ensuring a balance.
The history of the bicameral system dates back to the medivial European times when there was a distinction between the commoners, the clergy, and the nobilities. Different groups of representatives in different social spheres separated them. However, in the US, this system was stated with a reason to establish equal balance and power in the legislative branch. It was also aimed at solving disagreements when allocated with representation.
The reason behind the bicameral establishment
Aside from reducing authority in one branch, the bicameral legislature was also established by the founders of the US to have separation of powers. However, most Northern and Southern states started quarreling over the distinction of power at the federal level. This was followed by a movement called ‘The Great Compromise,’ which gave rise to the senate and the house of representatives.
Now, almost 41% of the government is bicameral, ad almost 59% follow a unicameral legislative system. Other countries which follow this system include the UK, India, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and others.
The US state government has two senators, both of whom have equal representation, who are directly voted by the public for a term of 6 years. The requirements for appearing for a senate position include the following:
- Minimum 25 years
- US citizen for at least seven years
- Must be at least 30 years old
- The resident of the state which they wish to represent
Each senate and each senator will have unique powers, including presidential impeachment. A bill is introduced in the house of representatives and passed to the Senate for approval, upon which it becomes a law.