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The 17th Amendment: An Analysis and Review - Essay Example

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The researcher of this essay aims to pay special attention to the 17th amendment: its analysis, discussion, and review. This research is also being carried out to present advantages and disadvantages of this amendment and cases of corruption and misrepresentation…
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The 17th Amendment: An Analysis and Review
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"The 17th Amendment: An Analysis and Review"

Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that when the United States Constitution was being drafted and key aspects of it were up for consideration from the Constitutional Convention, it was determined that each state, regardless of size and/or overall population, was entitled to two senators.  Further, the original Constitution stipulated that the senators would be selected by the State representatives themselves as a means of providing equal footing between a representative republic and a total and complete democracy.  At that time, there was but one dissenting vote, James Wilson, who argued for the senators to be elected by a popular vote.  In the broader context, the original interpretation of the means whereby senators would be selected was something of a compromise which was sought between both Federalists and Antifederalists.  Ultimately, the Antifederalists were desperately fearful that the monolithic central government would have the ability to continue to expand its power and create a massively powerful central government that would subjugate the individual states to the will of the central government.  Accordingly, as a means of continuing to provide the states with a powerful voice with regards to their representation, it was determined and compromised that the representatives would be popularly elected by the state’s voters; whereas the senators would be selected as a means of countering the “populism” that the means whereby the House of Representatives functioned was demonstrated. 
Yet, vesting such a high degree of authority within the individual state legislatures posed an inherent risk in addition to the benefits that have already been enumerated upon above. With regards to these risks, campaigners to have the amendment ratified noted that a high potential for deadlock as well as corruption existed within the system. Due to the fact that state legislatures could pursue policies that were note specifically representative of the individuals within their state as well as potentially buy and sell senate nominations, the movement gained traction as early as the late 1820s. Lastly, the lack of representation that could occur should a senator vacate his/her seat or die while in office was a further impetus towards amending the Constitution in this manner. Nearly a hundred years passed before the United States Congress passed the bill and sent the proposed amendments to the state to be ratified. With regards to seeking to understand James Madison’s notes on the Constitution Convention, it cannot and should not be understated the role that Madison’s understanding and integration with the belief of federalism plays into this. In “Federalist No. 46”, James Madison states the following concerning the unique relationship that the states should have to the national government: “They (the states) are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers" (Cohen 27) Ultimately, this level of belief and trust in the fact that federalism could provide the most benefit with regards to the new system which was being integrated formed the backbone of the way in which Madison disagreed and ultimately fought against the indirect appointment of senators within the Constitution. As a function of his strong belief that the federalist system could preserve the interests of the democracy to a stronger degree than any other proposal, Madison doggedly fought against those that wished to allow appointment to take place; preferring the system of direct and popular elections to decide senate composition instead. From such an understanding, the reader can and should integrate with the understanding that had Madison been alive at the time that the 17th Amendment had been ratified by the states, he would have likely been highly pleased with the result. Though it took nearly 135 years after the Constitution was originally ratified, the federalist cause had eventually won out after many years of political back and forth. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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