Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Repealing the 17th Amendment

“Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.” – Federalist #62


The states were supposed to have a seat at the table. And at one time, they did, and for good reason. And it was for this reason that the Progressives then in control of our government adopted the 17th Amendment in 1913. If you haven’t noticed yet, 1913 was a terrible year for limited government and personal freedom.

Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution made explicitly clear that the U.S. Senate (one of two Houses in our Legislative branch of the federal government) would represent the individual states, and the state legislatures would vote for their Senator and send him/her to Washington to provide yet another check on the federal government.

State representation in Congress wasn’t by happenstance, and the reasoning was a point James Madison expressed in¬†Federalist Paper # 62, where the authors of the U.S. Constitution wanted to ensure the states that were debating this proposed government that they would, in fact, retain their own rights and powers, and that the federal government would be comprised of the individual states, rather than become its own entity. The (proven) theory was that the states would remain much more vigilant and act as a watchdog over the federal government than the citizenry would, and that both the individual states and the population within those states deserved say-so in federal decision making.

The Progressives recognized that founding theory, and they didn’t like it. A relentless campaign spanning several decades came to fruition in 1913, when Progressive William Jennings Bryan (Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State) was able to announce the 17th Amendment he fought for was now law. This new Amendment revoked the right of the individual states to select their two representatives, and handed it to the citizens that they knew were more easily swayed with promises of handouts and favors.

Since 1913, we’ve progressed from a country with no income tax and relative economic stability to a country that has suffered through multiple economic busts and depressions, immoral income taxation, too many wars (both declared and undeclared), an explosion of publicly held debt, prohibition of untold amounts of foods, drinks, and substances, irresponsible monetary inflation, and a massive growth of government power, intrusion, and expense. None of this is to discredit the character of the citizens or reprehend them, but merely to highlight the fact that your state legislators spend most of their time monitoring federal actions (it’s their profession, after all), whereas the average citizen is working 40+ hours a week in a non-political careerfield, raising their kids, living their own lives, and getting their news (if they choose to do so) from a lackluster local news source, a biased cable news source, or a few headlines on a website or newspaper. That’s a freedom you have, and was absolutely expected when the Founding Fathers insisted the states are represented, as well.

It’s for these very reasons that I insist we repeal the 17th Amendment and return to each state, the right to have a voice in Washington D.C. Judging simply from the states working to repeal or nullify Obamacare, indefinite detention laws, firearm regulations, medicinal and recreational marijuana laws, etc, I’d argue that many of hot issues we hear or see everyday would be better resolved or debated at local levels (assuming the state considers it an issue at all), rather than at the federal level, where they attempt to legislate and regulate over 300 million people in one fell swoop. Had the individual states had a stronger presence in Washington D.C., when something such as the misnamed Affordable Care Act was passed in both Houses, it likely would have been defeated, and those states that do in fact support health care mandate legislation might have have enacted it as an individual state (much as Massachusetts did), rather than forcing this “one size fits all” mire on us that we’re burdened with, now.

Repealing the 17th Amendment is hardly something you’ll see, hear, or read about from the usual mainstream media outlet, but it’s a conversation we need to have, none-the-less, and a topic I’ll absolutely carry with me to Washington. My intent isn’t to make your decisions for you, but rather return the right to make your own decisions back to you. By eliminating the state’s role in the federal legislative process, your voice is now lost in a sea of over 300 million other voices shouting at a few people Washington D.C. History is proving that it doesn’t work, and we need to return to a system where your state can both represent you, and provide an additional check on a power hungry federal government.


-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)


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