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The 17th Amendment: Dismantling the Republic

The 17th Amendment Dismantling the Republic

 

From the time of the founding, segments of the American citizenry advocated pure democracy. Yet the Founders gave us a republic in which the people, the state governments and the executive branch each had a voice in the legislative process.  Thus, members of the Senate were not originally elected by the people, nor did they represent the interests of the people in their respective states.  Each individual Senator represented the government of their particular state in the legislative process.

For more than a century, various groups attempted to remove the representation of the state governments from that process.  However, at the beginning of the congressional session of 1911, the quest to eliminate the representation of the states through direct election of Senators by the people of their states was gaining momentum.

Preceded by a proposed amendment to eliminate the Senate as a legislative body, an amendment for direct elections finally found its way to the House of Representatives and Senate floors.  After contentious debate regarding substance and process, the measure passed and was sent to the state legislatures for ratification.

Shortly after ratifying an amendment that would allow the federal government to directly tax the incomes of the people of the United States, the state governments abdicated their representation in the legislative process by ratifying the 17th Amendment to the U S Constitution.

Democracy and bureaucracy had struck a tremendous blow to the republic so carefully crafted by the Founders.

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