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Brinton

Senator Clifford Brinton of Indiana.

The Confederation Senate, usually known simply as the Senate, is a governmental body created by the Second Britannic Design of 1842. Each confederation in the Confederation of North America appoints five members; thus, the Senate originally had thirty members in 1843, increased to thirty-five members after the separation of Northern and Southern Vandalia in 1877, and returned to thirty members after the Quebec Plebiscite in 1889.

Sobel claims that the Senate "would act in manner similar to the House of Lords," but admits that in fact the Senate had "little power." Unlike the House of Lords, the Senate has no veto power over bills passed by the Grand Council. The Senate also had no role in the selection of the Governor-General, until passage of the Reform Bill of 1939 gave the Senate the power to break tie votes in the Grand Council. Despite this apparent lack of any power, Sobel asserts that Hiram Potter's support for the separation of Vandalia was due in part to the prospect of Vandalia gaining an extra five Senate seats. Although Sobel does not say so, it seems likely that the members of the Burgoyne Conference were influenced by the example of the Mexican Senate when they created the Confederation Senate.

Only two Senators are mentioned by name in For Want of a Nail . . ., and in both cases it is for reasons that don't involve the Senate: Senator Clifford Brinton of Indiana was appointed head of the Rural Credit Association by John McDowell, and Senator Peter Higbe of the Northern Confederation was the manager of Ezra Gallivan's election campaign in the 1888 Grand Council elections.

Sobel's source for the creation of the Senate is Dickinson Letts' Origins of the Two Party System (New York, 1923).

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