Passed by Congress in 1912 and ratified by the states in 1913, the 17th Amendment is quite possibly the most destructive modification that has been made to our federal government since our Constitution was established in 1789. Through a series of articles, we will endeavor to provide a comprehensive, yet simple, explanation of 1) bicameralism and the Founders’ original intent for the U.S. Senate, 2) an overview of the events leading up to the passage of the 17th Amendment, 3) a review of the massive expansion of federal overreach that has resulted from this adjustment to the balance of political power, and 4) a discussion on the impact that more than 100 years of a “runaway government” has had on every aspect of our lives.
Our federal government is composed of three separate branches as outlined by the first three articles of the Constitution. The first article establishes the structure and duties of our legislative branch which is given the exclusive responsibility for creating drafting and passing federal law. This federal legislature consists of two bodies of lawmakers called 1) the House of Representatives and 2) the Senate.
The Founders designed the House to represent the people of this country directly while the Senate was intended to represent the interests of state governments. While representatives in the House were instructed by the American people to use the power of the federal government to solve their problems, senators were instructed by the states to resist the tendency of the House to push political power from the states to the federal government, and to ‘keep solutions local’. This balance was obliterated by the 17th Amendment which provides that senators must be elected by the people, rather than by the state legislatures.
Read through our series of articles on the 17th Amendment to learn why repealing this amendment is the first step to restoring the Constitution and healing America.