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17th Amendment

The Founders’ original intent for the U.S. Senate, elected by state legislatures, was to represent the interests of state governments. United States Senators were to resist the tendency of the U.S House to push political power from the states to the national government, and to ‘keep solutions local’. George Mason argued that state legislative selection gave states the power of self-defense against the national government. This balance was obliterated by the 17th Amendment which provides that senators must be elected by the people, rather than by the state legislatures.


Passed by Congress in 1912 and ratified by the states in 1913, the 17th Amendment is quite possibly the most destructive modification made to our federal government since our Constitution was established in 1789. This adjustment to the balance of political power has resulted in a massive expansion of national government overreach. 


According to James Madison, giving state legislatures the power to choose Senators provided a “double advantage,” both “favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former.” Federalist No. 62 


National Association of Former State Legislators