May 12, 2004

17th Amendment

Here's a really good article about the 17th ammendment and how the author believes that many of the problems of the current Senate can be traced to the fact that Senators are now popularly elected.

It's a good read.

(via Boots and Sabres)

A small exerpt in the Extended Entry

Few people today know that the Founding Fathers never intended for senators to be popularly elected. The Constitution originally provided that senators would be chosen by state legislatures. The purpose was to provide the states — as states — an institutional role in the federal government. In effect, senators were to function as ambassadors from the states, which were expected to retain a large degree of sovereignty even after ratification of the Constitution, thereby ensuring that their rights would be protected in a federal system.

The role of senators as representatives of the states was assured by a procedure, now forgotten, whereby states would “instruct” their senators how to vote on particular issues. Such instructions were not conveyed to members of the House of Representatives because they have always been popularly elected and are not expected to speak for their states, but only for their constituents.

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