The concept of
a bicameral legislature has its foundations as early as Ancient Greece and
Rome. Though a more modern application of bicameral legislature is most evident
in medieval Europe, when two houses composed of the aristocrats and the
commoners was developed for representation of the estates within a realm. The
essential purpose of a bicameral legislature was to provide for representation
of both the people or citizens of a nation and the collective states or provinces
in the government system.
representation of both factions in one body of legislature is to provide for a
method of passing legislation or laws by requiring a majority for approval.
This concurrent majority provides for the ability of passing or approving
legislature that is not one-sided, or favoring a particular faction in a
distinct fashion. The United States bicameral legislature, or Congress, is
often cited as a prime example for bicameralism. However, there are different
types of bicameral legislature employed by different governments throughout the
The Federal bicameral system is the one that is
most commonly associated with the integral concept of bicameral legislation.
The United States, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the European Union
all employ a bicameral system. However, the method or structure in which it is
put into effect varies from country to country.
A version of
bicameral legislature that is considered as the classical structure is one that
consists of having two Houses in which the democratic process and the
federalism principle are combined in the sense of representation. The Lower House
is comprised by members based upon population numbers of each State or
province, which are elected by the citizens of each State. The Upper House is
comprised of an equal number of representatives from each State and are chosen
by State legislatures.
States Congress, as well as Mexico and Australia, employ this particular
bicameral system. However, the United States proves to be a unique example for
it was in 1913 that the 17th Amendment was approved in which Senators
would now be elected by popular vote rather than State legislature
Another form of bicameral legislature is the
Aristocratic system. This system is usually derived from governmental
precedence existing in previous provisions. The most notable example is the
British House of Lords. The House of Lords is represented by a number of
individuals who assume their position due to inheritance of nobility titles.
The House of Commons, the second faction in the bicameral system, is one that
is subject to election to fill the positions. However, the positions held
through inheritance have been limited to 92 from 700 due to recent enacted
The Unitary system of bicameral legislature has no
ties to either a federal government or to aristocratic positions. A unitary
state is one that is governed through sovereignty, in which the federal or
central government can only exercise certain powers over them. A bicameral
system in unitary states, such as Japan, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and
the Netherlands, has different functions than those created under a federal
bicameral legislature. One example could include where the Upper House only has
the power or authority or litigating and vetoing decisions rendered by the Lower
Regarding the various types of bicameral
legislature, the United States Congress proves to be one of a kind, in which
the strict dichotomy is enforced between a democratic ideal and the Federal
institution of government. Even though the Senate is now elected by a popular
vote, Congress still maintains a balance between both factions.