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.” 

You still doubt my ideas?

You still doubt my ideas?

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…

Henry Clay of Kentucky- impossible to elect him under the 17th amendment

Henry Clay of Kentucky- impossible to elect him under the 17th amendment

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.

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12 Comments

Filed under Ephemera, News

12 responses to “Unintended Consequences

  1. NEO

    Well said, and timely as well, my friend.

  2. NEO

    Reblogged this on nebraskaenergyobserver and commented:
    This is very well said, the founders did this for a reason.

  3. I prefer the present incorporation of all citizens in electing all offices of government. It’s not a democracy unless everyone may participate. This original intent still reeked of aristocracy of the wealthy and propertied. One reason for their thinking, which is reasonable, however, is that they wanted to avoid mob rule insanity of the French Revolution.

    • Madison never intended this to be a democracy, but preferably a republic- with participation of the masses on a limited basis. The House of Representatives was given extraordinary authority(comparatively) primarily the power of taxation- thus elected directly by the people. Popular votes are used when distributing electors in Presidential races, so the aristocratic overtones ring hollow.

  4. Except that I don’t think having either state governors or state legislatures choose the senators will solve the problem. It just makes the Senate answerable to a different set of political forces which are equally prone to corruption.

  5. P.S. Do you know this Elbridge Gerry quotation? I ran across it while researching my novel, and I think you’ll appreciate it:

    “The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.
    The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots.”

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