The Framers of the U.S. Constitution saw the Senate as their paramount creation. To James Madison, it was “the great anchor of the government,” and in his seminal plans for a new national government, the Senate figured as the most prominent and powerful institution, to be endowed with a potent combination of legislative, executive, and judicial prerogatives that were greater and more wide-ranging than those of either the House or the president. In the four months that the Framers met in Philadelphia, they spent more time and energy deliberating on the Senate than on any other single institution or issue, devoting most of the first seven critical weeks to the upper house, and thereafter, though more scattered, the equivalent of another week or two of consideration. In contrast, they focused on the House, executive, and federal judiciary for a few weeks each at most, and spent even less time on such vital issues as sectionalism and slavery. By the end of the Convention, the Framers had created an imposing chamber, possessing far more power and autonomy than any other upper house heretofore created in independent America. Small wonder, then, that in assessing the work of the Convention, the influential delegate from Connecticut, Roger Sherman, pronounced it “the most important branch in the government.” Smaller wonder still that the Framers would comprise over half the membership of the first Senate.