100 Year Look Back at the Seventeenth Amendment

Happy Friday the 13th everyone,

My name is John Fogle and I’m a senior Political Science major at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

In February, 1913 the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified and added to the U.S. Constitution. This changed the way Senators would be selected. Originally, Senators were selected by the state legislatures; following the amendment, Senators are directly elected by the citizens of each state. My question is whether we should still have the Seventeenth Amendment today. 

I will be examining writings of some of the framers of the Constitution, particularly The Federalist Papers, to determine the original intent for the Senate–including the method by which Senators receive their office. I will then take a look at documents surrounding the early 20th century debate which lead to the Seventeenth Amendment. Finally, I will offer an analysis of the last 100 years in relation to the election of Senators. My paper will be formatted as a policy proposal suggesting repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment to lawmakers and the president.

The Seventeenth Amendment is a topic I stumbled upon during my senior year of high school while writing a brief scholarship essay about how Senators should vote (whether by the will of the people or by their own personal opinions). Since then I have been extremely interested in the Seventeenth Amendment and the direct election of Senators but I have never had a reason to really get into it. And I’m sure we are all busy all the time, so if there’s no reason it’s impossible to find the time. I’m very excited about finally having a reason and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with this topic.

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