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The legislative branch of government, established in Article I of the Constitution, makes new national laws and modifies existing ones. Under the Constitution this duty is carried out by the Congress, a bicameral body divided into the Senate and House of Representatives. Members of both chambers are directly elected by the people of the state they represent. The House of Representatives has 435 members, with the number representing each state decided according to population size, elected every two years. The Senate is based on equal representation, with each state supplying two of the 100 members, and each has a six-year term.

The founding fathers wanted to check the power of the majority by giving smaller states extra representation, and gave Senators a longer term in office so that they would be less subject to popular pressures.

US capitol building
The US Capitol building houses the Congress


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