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The 17th Amendment

Direct Election of U.S. Senators

This Amendment was passed by Congress, May 13, 1912 and ratified on April 18th, 1913. As such, the Constitutional Amendment declares that Congressional Senators can serve a six-year term in Congress. This came out of the fact that late in the 19th century, some state legislatures were in a deadlock over the election of a senator if different parties controlled different houses. This Amendment was designed to alleviate the deadlock by making sure that Senate vacancies were able to last months or years. It was also built to prevent special interest groups or other political situations to gain control over the state legislature.

In 1912, Oregon attempted to utilize a state primary for the first time to see which people’s votes would go to whom. The House proposed amendments for the direct election of Senators in 1910 and 1911 that came to include a “race rider,” or a way to bar the Federal intervention in cases of racial discrimination among voters. This was done to consolidate the complete control of Senate elections in State governments. Kansas had Senator Joseph L. Bristow was adopted by the Senate with a close vote before the entire Amendment had passed the Senate. One year later, the House had accepted the changes and on April 8, 1913, the resolution became the 17th Amendment.

This Amendment caused a direct change to the Constitution about how Senators were elected into office. State legislatures were allowed to make a temporary election until someone could be found to fill the seat. On April 8, 1913, three-fourths or 36 of the state legislatures allowed this Amendment to become part of the Constitution. However, this Amendment took six years to fully begin to use, in 1913, and 1914, the first in Maryland, and the second in Alabama with the November 1914 election. After that election, this Amendment was implemented on March 4, 1919 after the November 1918 election.

The text puts into detail the fact that the Senate features two Senators from each State. The electors need to be qualified in the numbers game for that branch of the state legislature. A huge difference between the Senate and the House of Representatives was and still is that the composition of the House is composed by the representatives of congressional districts, that are divided up amongst the 50 states based on population. The House of Representatives passes federal legislation or bills which go through the Senate as they are sent to the President for careful thought. Representatives and delegates serve for two-year terms.

The House highlights the roles of the majority and minority leaders dependent on which party the house comes from. The 17th Amendment is about the Senate being directly elected by voters. Today, the 17th Amendment has helped get past voting deadlocks. Even today, the 17th Amendment has its critics from State’s rights forums. If some states are set against the 17th Amendment, they would need the approval of 38 of the 50 states for drafting a repeal amendment because two-thirds of Congress would need to agree to ratify votes repealing this modern 20th century Amendment to the Constitution.

The 17th Amendment is why we have direct election votes for the office of Senator. Back in 1911, this Amendment got through at all because of senators serving their first term, which made them somewhat open to this reform. When Connecticut approved the 17th Amendment, a three-fourths majority meant it was added to that Constitution in 1913 under President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States who was in office until 1921, as a Democrat. Wilson had 42 percent of the popular vote, resulting in 435 of the 531 electoral votes. The 17th Amendment was passed before he took office from President William Howard Taft.

Works Cited

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/what-would-senate-look-like-without-the-17th-amendment

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=58

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Direct_Election_Senators.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventeenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_Wilson

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The 17th Amendment
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