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HISTORYTEACHER: The 17th Amendment historyteacher

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The 17th Amendment

Here is one of the big issues I have with history books. The history book that I currently use is called Creating America. The book contains one paragraph about the 17th amendment. Here are the two main issues I have the paragraph:

1. The 17th amendment falls under the 1st goal of the progressives - expanding democracy.

2. Under the explanation for passing the 17th amendment the book states, "Formerly, state legislatures had chosen U.S. senators. Under this system, many senators obtained their positions through corrupt bargains. because of this, the Senate was called the "Millionaires' Club."

Now, no where does the book state the intentions the founding fathers had when they decided that the Senate should be elected by the State legislatures. Not even in the constitution Handbook which is a separate chapter in the book does it mention why our congress was designed like this.

The problem is that by not offering an explanation of the intent of the founding fathers, the book is assuming that the founders made a mistake and the 17th amendment was the solution. Now I as a teacher have to either decide to just go along with the book or to criticize the 17th amendment and sound like a self-righteous know-it-all who could write a better constitution if given the chance.

Here Zell Miller I think gives a very fair and very good critique of the ramifications of the 17th amendment.



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