Students of the Framers’ 1787 debates over the Constitution will recall that the country came close to splitting apart after the Connecticut Compromise in July of that year. And what was the compromise? It centered over whether states should be equally represented in the Senate, or whether they should be represented according to their population, as in the House of Representatives. The small-state delegates won that one, giving us equal representation by states in the Senate, prompting some large state delegates to contemplate a walkout.
For many years this was thought to shape American politics in an important way, and in fact probably did so. With equal representation by states, the Senate was perhaps more isolationist and certainly more sympathetic to farmers. We also saw more pork, in the shape of government offices and military bases, in places such as West Virginia and Alabama than we would have otherwise.