Liberty Blog

The 17th Amendment, Again?

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on September 2, 2010

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, in 1787, James Madison wrote, “The Senate will represent the Staes in their political capacity, the other House will represent the people of the States in their individual capacity”. This is why the Congress in 1913 should have kept their hands off the Constitution. Not only did they give us the Federal Reserve, and the 16th Amendment, but they gave us the 17th Amendmemt too. That is what makes the Madison quote above so important.

We, the people, already have representation in Congress. That is why we have the House of Representatives, to represent the people. That’s why bigger states have more congressman. Representation is based on population because the House is where the people are represented. The Senate has equal representation because that is where the States are represented and States deserve an equal voice (though I guess some would disagree!).

The U.S. Senate was never intended to he a “mini-House of Representatives”. There is a reason the State legislatures were to appoint Senators. The Founders even had the idea that Senators would be well respected citizens with different business backrounds and areas of expertise. Why was the progressive Congress of 1913 so hell bent on undoing everything that had worked so well for so long?

Just think about some of the ways the 17th Amendment has affected us during the Obama years. Try to picture if our Senators had been appointed by our State Legislature and subject to recall by them when the healthcare bill was being debated. I think there is a good chance that Obamacare never passes the Senate. Think back to the Patriot Act or Real ID. I think there is a good chance a lot of legislation never passes in a world where the Senate is appointed by the States.

I also wonder, do the States not deserve a voice in the Federal Government? So much of the legislation that is passed in Washington dumps unfunded mandates on State governments. Should they not have a seat at the table? Perhaps most important, who is looking out for the rights of the States?

These are not inconsequential questions. The Founders knew that the States needed a voice in the Federal government. It just makes sense, especially if you have just fought a war against a tyrannical government. The Founders knew that the Federal government would try to overstep it’s bounds at times. They knew that the Federal government would try to usurp the powers left to the States. When this happened, however, there would be the U.S. Senate, the representatives of the State government,and they would step in and save the day.

You can see then why the Federal government would want to push for an elected Senate. If Washington is going to take over every aspect of American life we can’t have the Senate, with the power to filibuster, run by people who are looking to their State capitol. They pushed for an elected Senate using the same rhetoric we hear from the modern left about “democracy”. The Founders hated democracy. They knew that democracy was all about who can collect the biggest mob. They chose a Constitutional Republic as the form of government for their new nation because they didn’t want the rights of individuals and States to be subject to the whim of popular opinion.

Thanks to the Congress of 1913 and the 17th Amendment our Constitutional Republic took a giant leap towards a democracy. They removed one of the Constitutional roadblocks the Federal government had to go through to step on the rights of the States. They also removed the final hurdle to the people being able to vote themselves money from the Treasury.

The 17th Amendment and it’s repeal need to become a bigger issue if we really want to balance the budget and get control of spending. The way a lot of people use the FairTax as a litmus test when voting, we need the same kind of movement to repeal the 17th. If we really want to stop the Federal government from growing and violating the 10th Amendment we must give the States their voice back.

Advertisements