Seventeenth Amendment Repeal

LFDA Editor

​​Note: Archived October 2015 due to lack of activity. 

The 17th Amendment provides for the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote.

Before the amendment's adoption in 1913, state legislatures elected their senators, according to the original creation of government by the founding fathers.

There is a growing sentiment against the amendment to return to what the founding fathers intended.

Much of the activism against the 17th Amendment comes from the tea party movement, whose advocates argue for government that holds more strictly to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Congress would first have to agree to an amendment to repeal the 17th, then voters in each state would have to ratify the new amendment by popular vote.


"For" Position

By LFDA Editor

Repeal proponents say the amendment upsets the founding fathers' balance between national and state governments. They argue that returning to the Constitution's original blueprint would give states the ability to kill federal legislation they don't like by recalling their senators, thus diluting the power of the federal government in favor or states' rights.

"Against" Position

By LFDA Editor

Opponents counter that direct election of senators, long a goal of the Progressive movement of the early 1900s, expanded democracy.

None of the current and incoming members of the New Hampshire delegation to Congress has advocated for the repeal of the 17th Amendment.


Killed in the House

Requires the state legislature to nominate primary candidates for U.S. Senate

Killed in the House

Resolution commemorating the ratification of the 17th Amendment

Killed in the House

Requiring the state legislature to nominate U.S. Senators from New Hampshire

Should NH help repeal the 17th Amendment?


johns97's picture
John Sullivan
- Methuen

Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:10pm

Thursday night in the Great Room of Hampton's One Liberty Lane, the unthinkable happened:

Republican presidential hopefuls gathered -- irrespective of their fundraising totals and place in the polls -- for the opportunity to answer questions from a moderator, ordinary New Hampshire citizens and one another. And the responses generally lasted more than 30 seconds.

In many cases, much more than 30 seconds. Yet the tone remained civil, like the civil tone the Live Free or Die Alliance strives for and insists on in our Virtual Town Hall and Facebook discussions.

Billing the evening as a "Constitutional Conversation," the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC hosted former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, past two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Louisiana congressman and governor Buddy Roemer and ex-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in a candidates forum before 200 people.

Among the highlights: Johnson would effectively abolish the IRS via the so-called fair tax, an idea to scrap the current tax code in favor of national sales tax. Roemer said he prefers a flat tax. Santorum and Gingrich, while both calling for a shrinkage in the tax-collection bureaucracy, said any plan to get rid of the IRS is doomed, if not "delusional."

"We've had a revenue service since the beginning of time," Gingrich said. "They're in the New Testament."

Johnson, when asked what part of the Constitution he would like to see amended, favored repeal of the 17th Amendment, the 1913 provision that enacted the direct election of U.S. senators, rather than their selection by the various state legislatures.

Roemer drew significant applause with an evening-long cri de coeur about the corruption of big money in elections, pointing to his own practice of limiting donations to $100 apiece as a way to mitigate the influence of political action committees and SuperPACs, which aren't even subject to the scrutiny of traditional PACs.

He also said the small donations are in line with his view of America as a "bottom-up country" rather than one that is dictated by the whims of Washington, which he calls the "capital of corruption."

And, on this night anyway, America showed it is a nation where rivals can disagree without being disagreeable. After criticizing Johnson for accepting PAC money, Roemer said, "If I don't make it, I'm going to vote for Gary."

While Gingrich and Santorum didn't explicitly endorse one another when it was their turn to take the stage, they joshed about the fact that -- for the first time in the presidential campaign season -- Santorum was given the opportunity to answer first.

"I'm used to being at the end, where I'm not given the chance to answer the questions," Santorum said, marveling at his change of fortune. However, Gingrich japed that he relished the opportunity to formulate his own responses while Santorum answered first.

The mood was less jocular, however, when it came to criticizing President Obama's handling of the military, the economy and, well ... just about everything.

When asked about Obama's largest failure from a constitutional standpoint, Gingrich deadpanned: "Not understanding which country he's president of."

johnth99's picture
John Therriault
- Keene

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 1:45pm

It is clear that the Senate will never change their path to power by proposing that the 17th amendment be repealed.  The Constitution provides a second method to propose amendments and that is through an Article V Convention of States. 

I support repealing the 17th amendment so that Senators are more resonsive to the needs of the States and State's Rights than they are to popular opinion.

Realistically the only way this can happen is through and Article V Convention.



Log in or register to post comments

Issue Status

​​Note: Archived October 2015 due to lack of activity. 


Here in NH, your opinion counts. We make it easy to find and reach out to your elected officials about the issues that matter most to you. Click to search and contact your elected officials!

Join the LFDA

Join our constantly growing community. Membership is free and supports our efforts to help NH citizens become informed and engaged. 


©2015 Live Free or Die Alliance | The Live Free or Die Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.