The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which called for the direct election of Senators, states:
|“|| The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
The Seventeenth Amendment was ratified in 1913 during the progressive era of Woodrow Wilson. The Seventeenth Amendment replaces the process of elected state legislatures picking U.S. Senators–and the Senators adhering to the principles of those elected legislatures–with a process of electing Senators by a majority vote of the people within a state, a shift in policy from the Founding Fathers Constitutional Republic to a form of direct Democracy. Consequently, the Seventeenth Amendment reduces the influence of state legislatures over United States Senators. Some people claim that this leaves Senators more subject to influnce from special interest groups (Lobbyists, Unions and Corporations), because Senators must raise funds for their expensive re-election campaigns.
There are two impacting differences in the election and legislative process with the addition of the Seventeenth Amendment: (1) the people of a state vote for a Senator rather than the elected state legislatures, and (2) upon confirmation of an elected Senator, they are no longer under the influence of the people who elected them, nor the state legislatures, but are controlled by special interest groups otherwise known as "Mob Rule," or rule by the majority. The long-term impact of the Seventeenth Amendment modified America's Constitutional Republic by fundamentally transforming it into a more progressive form of democracy, sometimes referred to as a "democratic Republic" by Public Union teachers, and of which has essentially reduced the people's protections under Constitutional Law by giving more power to the voters.
Before the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, the Senate was comprised of senators selected by state legislatures rather than elected by the people, and they legislature refused for years to pass this amendment. With the help of Woodrow Wilson's methodical, effective but destructive use of propaganda, the states resorted to an alternative mechanism for amendment, bypassing Congress and passing resolutions that called for a constitutional convention. When nearly enough states (2/3rd of the United States) had passed resolutions for a constitutional convention, the Senate averted a constitutional convention by finally passing the Seventeenth Amendment and sending it to the states for ratification.
The amendment has been criticized by some for eroding the principle of Federalism that the Constitution was based on. On the other hand, the proponents of the amendment claim that the prior system allowed for Senators to buy the votes of the legislators that elected them.
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America
Bill of Rights:
1 - Freedom of speech, press, etc.
2 - Right to bear arms
3 - Quartering of soldiers
4 - Warrants
5 - Due process
6 - Right to a speedy trial
7 - Right by trial of a jury
8 - No cruel or unusual punishments
9 - Unenumerated rights
10 - Power to the people and states
11 - Immunity of states to foreign suits
12 - Revision of presidential election procedures
13 - Abolition of slavery
14 - Citizenship
15 - Racial suffrage
16 - Federal income tax
17 - Direct election to the United States Senate
18 - Prohibition of alcohol
19 - Women's suffrage
20 - Terms of the presidency
21 - Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment
22 - Limits the president to two terms
23 - Electoral College
24 - Prohibition of poll taxes
25 - Presidential disabilities
26 - Voting age lowered to 18
27 - Variance of congressional compensation