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Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"United States of America

The Seventeenth Amendment in the National Archives

The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which Senators were elected by State legislatures. It also alters the procedure for filling vacancies in the Senate, allowing for State legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held. Under the original provisions of the Constitution, Senators were elected by State legislatures; this was intended to ensure that the Federal government contained representatives of the States, and also to provide a body not dependent on popular support that could afford to "take a more detached view of issues coming before Congress".[1] Over time, however, various perceived issues with these provisions, such as the risk of corruption and the potential for electoral deadlocks or a lack of representation should a seat become vacant led to a campaign for reform.

Reformers tabled constitutional amendments in 1828, 1829 and 1855, with the issues finally reaching a head during the 1890s and 1900s. By 1910, 31 State legislatures had passed motions calling for reform, a movement led by popular figures such as William Jennings Bryan, with Elihu Root and George Frisbie Hoar leading the campaign against reform. By 1912, 239 political parties at both the State and national level had pledged some form of direct election, and 33 States had introduced the use of direct primaries; with a campaign for a state-led constitutional amendment gaining strength, and a fear that this could lead to a "runaway convention", the proposal to mandate direct elections for the Senate was finally introduced to Congress; it was passed on May 13, 1912, ratified by the States within a year and formally declared an amendment to the Constitution on May 31, 1913 by Bryan, in his role as Secretary of State, becoming the Seventeenth Amendment.

Critics of the Seventeenth Amendment claim that by altering the way Senators are elected, the States lost any representation they had in the Federal government and that this led to the gradual "slide into ignominy" of State legislatures,[2] as well as an overextension of Federal power and the rise of special interest groups to fill the power vacuum previously occupied by State legislatures. In addition, concerns have been raised about the power of governors to appoint temporary replacements to fill vacant senate seats, both in terms of how this provision should be interpreted and whether it should be permitted at all. Accordingly, noted public figures have expressed a desire to reform or even repeal the Seventeenth Amendment."

Why should this be repealed?

Abolish the 17th Amendment which provides for the direct election of Senators

In 2008 & 2009, Illinois and New York illustrated exactly why the Founding Fathers did NOT provide for the direct election of Senators by popular vote. Senate seats are now bought and sold like a commodity.

Exposure to corruption of the election processes is inevitable when one person (Such as a governor) has too much control. Let the various legislatures select the best qualified statesman-like people as was the case before 1913. The founder's attention to the details is obvious from their intentions as to what could occur. Can you name a statesmanlike senator currently serving. Al Franken ... you got to be kidding?

Over the years, many warned of the dangers of corruption. Their fears are now realized.



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Founder, Executive Director, Webmaster, Wizard and Seer