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Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment

Over the years some patriots have made great efforts in the demand to “repeal the Seventeenth Amendment”. As a member and participant of several Tea Parties, and the 912 organization blogs, I have encountered individuals and groups that become quite animated over the prospect and will often shout at the slightest reference to the word democracy, “We are a republic and not a democracy.” My first response is to ask. “Then what kind of republic are we?”

Institutionalized academics insinuate that Article IV Section 4 is an ambiguous statement that does not guarantee any specific type of republic implying that social-nationalism can easily replace our system of government and still be within the constituted authority…bull hockey! Art.IV Sect. 4 states:The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion;This is not a guarantee of a Republic, but is Republicanism and is defined by American standards as a representative-democracy ruled by the people under a limited form of government and this system is constructed by our Constitution.

Our Constitution alone defines what type of republic we are by its construction of the legislatures and the processes used in making legislation and this republic is a representative-democracy; which by definition simply means we elect our legislators from the common society by rule of majority.

The United States Constitution constructs a trade organization meant to represent the fifty independent states in international trade under a contract of mutual allegiance in defense and commerce. This common union trade organization has its authorities listed in Article 1 section 8 with the states being designated all other authorities by the separation of jurisdictions created by the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified under martial law, has diluted this clarity with ambiguity caused by the failure of the required inclusion of a counter measure to prevent any over extension of powers into state affairs by the common union trade organization.

Our constitution’s fundamental principal is the protection to the right to own private property and the unobstructed right to perform business and though the concept of corporation is nationalistic in its principal; it does not suggest that the incorporation of private enterprise by government is acceptable. The right to free enterprise is the individual’s right to self-preservation. The ability to create a job to earn an income is referred to as sole proprietorship or entrepreneurship and should have the least amount of regulation.

A federalist republic is built upon the legislative foundation of a representative-democracy. This fact is affirmed by Article V of the Constitution which list two modes of making legislation; where both modes require the participation of elected representatives and the application to the rule of majority – thus is the foundation of American-republicanism of a democracy founded by the people and a significant defining counter to a democracy created by government for the people; which is the social-democracy provided by systems designed under parliament.

To eliminate our legislatures or the rule of majority eliminates the standard that separates us from other republics, and if we become nationalized we become no different than other republics such as China, North Korea, Iraq, or Iran- even Germany under Hitler was a republic and not a democracy. Although it is true that we are not a pure democracy, popular vote has always been part of our system of legislation since 1776, and has increased in its role as the populations grew, and the expansion westward added more states to the common union trade organization.

The first part of my fact finding adventure was to find out why should we repeal the Seventeenth Amendment? Until recently I have never heard any of the legal or constitutional experts, liberal or conservative, challenge the Seventeenth Amendments validity. So the first consideration I had to make was; did I personally miss some important facts?

So one day at the end of a provocative rant on a blog by an individual who concluded his rant with the challenge “repeal the Seventeenth Amendment” which was consummated by a half dozen others joining in support with the same. I decided this was the time to ask – why?

After a slight verbal bludgeoning directed at my intellect for not knowing what these enlightened individuals already knew; I informed this patriot that I was not challenging his ideal, but was merely inquiring since I’m not gullible enough to pick up on a chant until I know what I am supporting.

I was informed in a more civil tone, that it was believed that the Seventeenth Amendment “took away” state rights to choose their United State Senator by appointment, and the federal government forced upon the states the method of popular vote”. He went on to argue; “that the use of popular vote contaminated the United States Senate with officials who should have never been elected, because they had no understanding of the legislative process and lacked the understanding of Constitution and for this reason we have the mess we’re in now.”

It was a valid argument for sure, but popular vote has been part of our system of making legislation since the Constitution of Virginia was ratified in 1776, and throughout our history the use of popular vote had been increased, to include the first use of popular vote in the presidential elections by the state of Maine in 1804. It is reasonable to assume that if popular vote was in opposition to the newly established republic; would it have not been met with vigorous confrontation by the founders?

Another rational conclusion which came to mind was: How would the House of Representatives, who had control over the United States Senate, be convinced to give up their control over the appointment of U.S. Senators? To ratify the Seventeenth Amendment would of course require a 2/3rd vote of both houses. So what happened?

489px-17th_Amendment_Pg1of1_ACThis is what I learned

In 1890, the state of Oregon was the first state to use popular vote to elect United States Senators. Within the next few years other states also adopted the process, and by 1912 there were twenty-nine states that had, by their own accord, changed from the system of appointment to popular vote. This revelation seemed to contradict the assumption that the Seventeenth Amendment had forced the states to change from appointment to popular vote, when actually the amendment was brought about by a joint resolution of state legislatures. This brings to light the opposing argument. Why?

The cause to the change in methods from appointment to popular vote was noted first and foremost that the United States House of Representatives was purposely failing to appoint U.S. Senators for many of the Western and Mid-western states in order to control the outcome of legislation, leaving those states without representation for long periods that placed these states at a disadvantage; while grant appropriations and train routes were being decided by eastern states. Another reason had to do with the corruption of the House whose members were selling U.S. Senate seats, something that has happened as recently as 2008 in Chicago. It was more common than not; that the use of bribery, bonuses and other frills were being utilized to secure votes. It is also rational to assume that if the United States House was ethically corrupted that it is a given that your United State Senate will also be ethically corrupt.

Both arguments are valid, and raise the question of whether the sacrifice of experienced officials who had the expertise of the political protocol was justified in the exchange for the election of individuals who had no experience. Is it more plausible to condone the corruption of schemes and scams, over the possibility of ineptness which the use of popular vote has caused? Sometimes the clincher to the argument just requires digging a little deeper-Here is your smoking gun!

Prior to the Fourteenth Amendment, the jurisdiction of the Federal Government was limited to the authorities listed in Article I section 8 of the United States Constitution and because the Federal Constitution was not applicable to the states with the exception of interstate commerce, laws made by the U.S. Congress could not be imposed directly upon the states. It was the original authority of the state legislatures to tell the U.S Senators what they needed to do in regards to commerce between their state and other states. The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment changed this monumentally.

The Fourteenth Amendment gave the Federal Government the extended jurisdiction to intervene into state matters directly. Legislation now made by the common union organization could be imposed against the states and beginning in the 1870’s the Supreme Court began to apply interpretations to the Bill of Rights, which until this time was not a jurisdiction of the common union trade organization. The U.S. Bill of Rights was the protection of jurisdictions of authority “reserved to the states or to the people” by the Tenth Amendment.

President Andrew Johnson who vetoed the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 stated that the Fourteenth Amendment “was the first step to nationalizing this country.” His resistance against the Fourteenth Amendment brought impeachment proceedings against Johnson in an attempt to squelch his opinion and defiance.

The House of Representatives now had full control over the United States Senate in combination to the new extended jurisdiction created by the Fourteenth Amendment to regulate the states with national legislation. This left the state legislatures impotent against any inappropriate acts of a Senator since the United States Senate was under the direct appointment of the House of Representatives, nether the state legislatures or the people had any voting recourse against a United States Senate who was no longer under any obligation to represent them.

With the House of Representatives having control over the treasury and appropriations, the control over who would be a U.S Senator left the House also with the ability to control the legislation, how a law was written and for what purpose. We in essence were no longer a government by the people.

We then experience from 1868 until 1913 a rampant expansion of commercial-nationalism previously constrained by the original document and instead of the alleviation of discrimination, the misinterpretations of ambiguities within the “new living Constitution” created by the Fourteenth Amendment added national segregation, exploitation of immigrants and the eradication of the Indian to the list of American embarrassments.

In order to maintain some type of control over the United States Legislatures it was required to divide the power structure between the two houses of Congress. The need to change from appointment to popular vote was in opposition to how the Fourteenth Amendment nationalized the monopoly of power the House of Representatives had gained.

The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment undermined the system of electing the U.S. Senate by appointment and though the system of popular vote diluted the political pool with the risk of incompetence, the separation of powers was necessary to return a balance of power between the states and the federal. Unfortunately it was a lame attempt and only exposed us to many other issues eventually leading to the creation of the Fed, Sixteenth Amendment and New Deal of Socialism concluding that even though President Andrew Johnson was a bigot and racist, he understood the true agenda of the radical Republican Party in Congress recognizing the first progressive push to nationalize America.

But to take the side to repealing the Seventeenth Amendment; the ultimate question must be asked: If the Seventeenth Amendment was to be repealed tomorrow, what would it change?
The repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment would not automatically mandate that all states must use the system of appointment to elected U.S. Senators. This is because it is and has always been the discretionary authority of the states to choose which process they will use to select elected officials.

It would now require that each state amend their state constitutions to facilitate the system of appointment, and since the original consensus was brought to Congress by joint resolution; is it plausible to assume that nether the people or the states would desire to return the control of appointing U.S. Senators back into the hands of the Federal Government?

My suggestion is establishing a system of federal referendum because when the Fourteenth Amendment increased the jurisdiction of the common union trade organization over state affairs it disrupted the checks and balances of the original constitution. To maintain the integrity of the checking mechanism that constrains oppressive government legislation the proper adjustments are mandate. A counter measure must be amended to the Fourteenth Amendment and that responsibility falls to the states to resolve.

Read my book: Establishing Federal Referendum
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