“I don’t need to joke anymore. I’m just telling people what Congress did that day.” – Will Rogers

When our Constitution was written, the election of US senators was the responsibility of state legislatures. The right to elect the House of Representatives was delegated directly to the people, as it represented them. But after the Civil War, disputes between state legislators led to many deadlocks. This left some Senate seats vacant for years. By 1900, the growth of a populist movement to have voters elect senators directly by popular vote led to the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913.


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