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17th Amendment Essay

881 words - 4 pages

History of the Seventeenth Amendment
The 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States senators by vote. The 17th Amendment states:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive ...view middle of the document...

Over half of the states adopted the "Oregon system," but the 1912 Senate investigation of bribery and corruption in the election of Illinois Senator William Lorimer indicated that only a constitutional amendment mandating the direct election of Senators by a state’s citizenry would allay public demands for reform. (Our Documents)
By 1912, states began electing senators but in order to achieve reform, a constitutional amendment needed to be mandated. Finally, Senator Joseph Bristow proposed a constitutional amendment. Eight southern senators and all Republican senators from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania opposed Senator Bristow's resolution (Senate). Despite this, the Senate ended up approving the resolution of direct election. After gaining approval, the issue was taken up in the House of Representatives. The House was no more interested in the proposal than the Senate was at first. It took much effort and debating until the House finally passed the amendment. In the summer of 1912 the amendment was passed and sent to the states for ratification. Connecticut’s approval gave the 17th Amendment the required three-fourths majority, and it was added to the Constitution in 1913 (Senate). The 17th Amendment was passed by Congress on May 13, 1912 and ratified on April 8, 1913.
The 17th Amendment also experienced a controversial issue over its passage. Many people don’t know that race was also an issue in the process of ratifying this
Lawrence, 3
amendment:
The appointment of senators was one way the slave-holding and then later segregationist South maintained political power. And, the direct appointment of Senators was seen as one of the compromises necessary to get the slave-holding South to sign on to the Constitution since it would assure...

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