Why is the 17th amendment considered a triumph for american democracy?  

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Seventeenth Amendment provided for direct election of United States Senators. Previously, many state constitutions gave the power to choose senators to state legislatures, a legacy of the Framers' strong distrust for popular opinion as well as the desire to give some political power to the states. By the late nineteenth century, however, many Progressive reformers charged that state legislatures were controlled by corrupt party bosses who limited the will of the people in choosing their senators. By the early twentieth century, some states were already allowing for the popular election of committees who would advise the state legislatures in choosing senators. In 1910, the requisite number of state legislatures requested that Congress hold a national convention to propose an amendment. The amendment passed the convention, and by 1913 was ratified by the states. Scholars believe that the amendment has had little effect on the actual practices of senators aside from ending the practice of state legislatures giving "instructions" to their senators. It has, however, placed senators more directly under the control of their constituents.

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