Unintended Consequences

The Senate of the United States was designed… to give equal representation to the States- a more disciplined, stable, and experienced legislative body.  Madison saw the dangers in the popularly elected House, for people were often, “subject to the [periodic] infection of violent passions… that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions.” 


Popular elections are often driven by partisanship, misinformation, and demagoguery.  The States were to choose Senators to insure, “In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind?”

Madison discernibly demonstrates the need for… a portion  of government that can rise above the passions and partisanship that too often sweeps through popular elections.  Federalist 63 uses this reasoning to support the original intent of the election of Senators- State governments deliberately selecting their representatives through  legislatures- the voice of the people held within those bodies…

Today, Americans are less familiar with their state governments than ever… were US Senators still chosen by the legislatures, voters would definitely pay attention to local politics again.


Current reformers arguing for the repeal of… 17th amendment miss this point entirely.  Conservatives claim the amendment impedes Federalism and limits States rights- but they ignore the more fundamental issue- original intent.  By putting the election of Senators to a popular vote, the body has been subjected to the political passions of any given election cycle.  Partisanship grinds the political process to a halt- the Senate has become an overpaid debating society where grandstanding members play to their bases to insure reelection.  Rank amateurs, never elected to a public office, are foolishly thrust into our most powerful legislative body.   The misguided Progressivism that brought on the 17th amendment is in dire need of reconsideration; the amendment’s repeal being the only logical conclusion.

2 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences

  1. I don’t know if mere repeal would be a sufficient remedy, but I am certain that the Founders’ intentions were not met before or after the 17th Amendment was ratified.


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