Constitution of the United States of America - Repeal Amendment XVII (Introduced May 13, 1912; Ratified April 8, 1913)
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 authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
The 17th Amendment must be repealed as a key part of returning our nation’s historically successful representative Constitutional Republic under God. The Senator must again represent the interests of his or her state at the pleasure of its legislature. This is essential to maintain a proper balance of governance that serves the greater interests of the state and the people who elected their legislators to govern the affairs of the state and those they send to Washington. Subsidiarity must be served in Solidarity. The 17th Amendment broke this bond.
What change did the 17th Amendment make to the function of government under the Constitution?
History leading to the 17th Amendment
The Founders from the beginning addressed the near impossible balance of power between states with widely diverse populations. The House of Representatives is structured with one Representative per given block of population. For example, Alaska, the largest state in land area has only one House member, while California has 52. In the House, other than the right to speak and introduce bills, Alaska has no real voice.
Each state was allowed two Senators to counterbalance the overwhelming wealth and population spread of the various states. Senators were to represent the interests of the state and were appointed by their state legislatures. Essentially, they were to be lobbyists for their respective states. This assured the broader interests of the state versus a Senate controlled by and loyal to the central government. A state’s two Senators brought a level of equality of the states, especially in matters of national concern such as defense from foreign invasion, foreign relations and interstate commerce.
One historical argument for the Confederacy was its loyalty to states’ rights. Historians claim this was largely to retain slavery in the South. This was a straw dog for the Northern states to use to justify war. The North was leaning more away from the original Constitutional definition of states rights in favor of a strong central government.
Even though the South lost the Civil War and slaves were freed, most ended up in the British form of slavery. This meant the former slave or poor immigrant or uneducated were subject to a limited ability to earn a living only sufficient to survive under often terrible working conditions. It is interesting to note 150 years later, the most patriotic, constitutionally loyal states are in the South. The North sold its soul in favor of what would become the “progressive” movement and the unsavory Amendments of the early 20th Century which rapidly led to global war and massive depression. By contrast, the states of the Northeast where our history was born are most likely to ignore their solemn oaths to protect and defend the Constitution in favor of strong central and even one world government.
In between the Civil War and the period preceding World War I, there were financial panics, riots and strikes and general unrest as immigration rapidly increased and industrial production demands drew more people into the cities and away from the general independence of a rural lifestyle. People may have been poor in the rural areas, but they generally ate well and maintained a strong sense of self reliance. The loss of these in the industrial North created conditions for dependency. This in turn opened the door for the chicanery of today’s “progressive” movement largely populated by Democratic Party leadership and fellow travelers of both parties. Moral vacuums will surely be filled with something worse.
In the midst of labor strife of the 19th Century, the Catholic Church stepped in to protect the largely Catholic immigrants in the form of Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum – on Capital and Labor.” He outlined the responsibilities of capital to assure a fair wage and working conditions for those they employ. This gave rise to the labor movement and the formation of unions to protect workers. This great gift of the Church to American Labor explains why most Catholics still embrace the Democrat Party – even though that party long ago turned its back on them.
Both Capital and Labor leadership reacted to having Judeo-Christian morality re-impressed on them by turning against not only the Church, but the Constitution. For Labor, it was the leaning to Communism and the corruption it brought along with the restoration of an “us vs. them” mentality even if the employer is fair and equitable. For Capital, it was the urge to control the monetary system and to centralize government where it could be controlled by capital and its speculations – not capitalism.
The pristine definition of Capitalism is in High-Finance’s role as the servant of commerce, investment in vision and courage, building personal and family savings and as a vehicle for philanthropy! Greed cannot handle such a wide and free distribution of the work of others.
Passing the 17th Amendment
If government is to be controlled by a small group, it must nullify states rights. Once central control is established, it becomes possible to control the monetary system extra-constitutionally. Until this time, an American was first known as “a Virginian,” “a New Yorker” – by his state of residence and property. The communal “American” came later. States enjoyed the overall protection of a national military, but retained their own local law enforcement and militia’s under command of the Governor. This is still constitutionally true, but much of this has been usurped by the National Guard system and the modern rise of so-called Homeland Security which is attempting to override everything.
Without the 17th Amendment, Senators represented the specific interests of their states. With the 17th Amendment, popularly elected Senators soon found themselves representing what is often called “the common good” of the Senate’s exclusive club. The balance of representation with a bi-cameral Congress was thoroughly compromised. Within the states, the Governor, legislature and their balanced representation to the Federal government could well represent the needs of the local community – the state and for a prosperous and competitive role in a united nation.
The Philosophical Reason for Repealing the 17th Amendment
The Constitutional structure of the United States follows the ideal philosophical hierarchy of the equally important normative sciences of Philosophy.
1. Aesthetics (Beauty) – the Declaration of Independence and its acknowledgement of our Creator’s endowment balanced by a litany of the wrongs faced under despotism.
2. Ethics found in the Constitution to establish the rules of common discourse and behavior.
3. …and Logic of the Bill of Rights that protects the veracity and integrity of the Constitution.
This structure sets the natural flow of the next elements, Subsidiarity, Solidarity and Chaos leading to Harmony. The 17th Amendment disrupts the ideal order set by the Founders seeking the wisdom God offers those who ask for it.
1. Subsidiarity establishes the proper order of responsibility and term of assistance starting with the individual, the family, the community, the state and finally the federal government. The higher up the ladder of governance the shorter the term of assistance and regulation.
Before the 17th Amendment it was almost natural, often in spite of the machinations of leaders, elected, appointed or usurped – the system worked and had built in means of correction. The individual would be ashamed to accept charity beyond what meets his immediate needs.
The 17th Amendment violates Subsidiarity by moving a properly placed representative of authority higher up than is honestly manageable by those who are pledged the Senators’ loyalty and responsibility.
2. Solidarity – Every network has a hierarchy, no matter how invisible. With the 17th Amendment power brokers broke the Senators’ solidarity with their state legislators and therefore the people they represent at the proper level of subsidiarity.
3. Chaos – The Chaos of an expectant, curious and hard working people leads to the Harmony of discovery, development and the integrity of stewardship. Chaos of the streets occurs when rulers fail to carry out their responsibilities. This is also true when they do so after swearing a solemn oath to perform as expected within the framework of the Constitution and the wishes of the people who are likewise invested in the national order. This is a difficult task in a constitutional republic. It is impossible in a democracy, which over time will vote itself non-existent wealth and immoral privileges until it dies of depravity, debt and starvation. Democracies under “progressive” rule tend to eat their parents as well as their children!
The 17th Amendment contributes to chaos because it cannot allow the proper order of responsibility and rule. It must be repealed and the proper role of Senators representing the interests of the state they serve must take precedence.
Jerry is a retired engineer with strong experience in environmental innovation which he still applies today with 2 clean water and energy saving technologies. His life avocation in writing and study of philosophical and biblical themes as they apply to the body politic's spiritual warfare. He survived stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006; now in excellent health. A graduate of the University of Illinois (1958, Industrial Engineering), Jerry had post graduate studies at both the University of San Francisco and the University of Santa Clara in California between 1961 and 1963 (Logic, Marketing). As co Founder and seminar presenter he was awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Valley Christian University operating under California private-post secondary statutes for mid career student, VCU was the pioneer external degree school for mid career students. Its course structures were picked up by several well known Christian colleges. Hosted local broadcast radio and TV shows, "Religion on the Line" and "The News Firm" (jointly with wife, Joanne), respectively. Jerry has published several books that are available at Amazon. Jerry is available to speak as a visiting lecturer at the high school, college or community organization level. Jerry is married 55 years to Joanne Dean Todd – 3 children, 8 grandchildren.