Looking back on it, many would agree that the two Amendments to the U.S. Constitution which were both ratified in 1913, were the worst Amendments ever adopted (some say they weren’t actually properly ratified). Those were the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments.
The Sixteenth is the one that approved the previously unwanted collection of an income tax (see discussions about this in our early history). For some reason, we, the people, approved this burdensome tax. That has been the subject of many disputations—and I won’t continue that here.
Creating considerably less rancor is the equally abusive Seventeenth Amendment. I believe this is the root cause of much of our trouble in Congress. This Amendment allows for the direct election of Senators.
In our early history, until 1913, Senators were elected by the different State legislatures, and they were specifically elected to protect the interests of the several States, as the people were protected and represented by the Representatives in the House of Representatives. They were clearly different in purpose. The protection of the sovereign States was eliminated by this Amendment. I believe, to our detriment. Who is looking after the interests of the States now? No one. No one at all.
James Madison said it this way: “There is a peculiarity in the federal Constitution which insures a watchful attention in a majority both of the people and of their representatives to a constitutional argumentation of the latter. The peculiarity lies in this, that one branch of the legislature is a representation of citizens, the other of the States.” (Federalist Papers, number 58).
As Benjamin Franklin said: “You have a republic—if you can keep it.” We didn’t!