Article the first of the Bill of Rights
After the Constitution was proposed, many citizens believed that the success of the new republic would be predicated upon the number of Representatives in the U.S. House forever increasing in proportion to the nation’s total population. In fact, that is what was promised by the founders. For example, a prominent framer of the Constitution predicted, in 1787, that “the House of Representatives will, within a single century, consist of more than six hundred members”. Yet over two centuries later, Congress has granted only 435 Representatives to we the people, which brings us to the problem at hand.
Though the Constitution established the maximum number of Representatives at one for every 30,000 people, it failed to establish a corresponding minimum. According to Federalist 55, this failure drew the most criticism of any provision in the proposed constitution. James Madison (known as the “Father of the Constitution”) later confessed that he had “always thought this part of the constitution defective” when he introduced his proposal to rectify it as one of his several proposed amendments to the Constitution.
It is therefore not surprising that the very first constitutional amendment passed by Congress was intended to fix this defect by requiring a minimum number of Representatives proportionate to the total population. Strangely, this proposal was never sent to the states for ratification. Instead, a seemingly identical but defective version was substituted for it, which effectively sabotaged the implementation of this solution.