In the summer of 1787, our Founding Fathers arrived in Philadelphia with a palette of tools to write a framework of government. Experience, knowledge, and observation enabled the Founders to build, for the first time, a republic rooted in the principles of Natural Law.
Knowledge gained from extensive study of the classics, enlightened them to historical successes and failures. The Founders personally experienced and developed self-governance in the colonies, and they observed and participated in English government.
The Men of 1787 arrived in Philadelphia prepared to develop a republic, not a democracy. With Natural Law as the foundation, these men went about utilizing their combined knowledge, experience, and observation to construct an intricate framework of government, a composite of all the finest features and most reasonable assets of governments in history.
Today the Republic of the United States is dying a slow and painful death due to the lack of understanding the principles that support the ingenious system the architects developed in 1787. The cancerous actions of designing politicians during the populace movement of the early 1900’s have had a scurrilous effect on the intent of our Founders.
Of paramount concern is the effect of the erroneous changes made to the republic by the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1919.
Upon leaving office, George Washington’s Farewell Address was printed throughout the new republic. A key point espoused upon in the Farwell Address advice pertained to amending the Constitution.
“Towards the preservation of your Government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles however specious the pretexts, one method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of Governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing Constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypotheses and opinion express to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypotheses and opinion: and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a Government of as much vigour as is consistent with the perfect security of Liberty is indispensable.
Liberty itself will find in such a Government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest Guardian. It is indeed little else than a name, where the Government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the Society within the limits prescribed by the laws and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property. “
For the first time in 5,000 years, the human mind was allowed to be free and innovative due to the vision of the Men of 1787.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, America had significantly changed due to this extraordinary outpouring of human freedom. In the early 1900’s, politicians, as opposed to statesmen, possessed the “spirit of innovation” and utilized a populist movement to make significant alterations to the Constitution impairing the energy of the system.
Of these amendments, the most destructive to the energy of the Republic was the seventeenth amendment, which allowed for the popular election of the state senator. I will argue that the seventeenth amendment has wreaked havoc to the system of government designed by the Men of 1787.
Today many Americas are finally recognizing the monopolization of power by Washington D.C., and there is a movement to return power to the states. A paramount means of taking this power back to the states is holding state senators responsible for their prescribed duty, representing the state they were sent to represent.
Discussion regarding the ill effect of the 17th Amendment is not new, however, neither a clear articulation nor a feasible solution has been presented. There has been discussion regarding the prospect of abolishing this intrusive amendment, however, neither movement nor support has taken root.
The intent of the Men of 1787 was the development of a republic that was divided, balanced, and representative of specific entities. Each of the parts would have clearly articulated responsibilities, and represent a part of the whole, contributing to the success of a long lasting republic rooted in Natural Law.
Representatives were to represent the local needs of people, and were chosen by direct election for a two-year term. Following each census, states were granted an additional representative for every 30,000 new citizens, the concept of proportional representation. In 1929, Congress capped the House of Representatives at 435.
Senators were to represent the states, and were chosen by state legislatures within their respective state capitols for a six-year term. Regardless of population, each state was granted two senators, the concept of equal representation.
The Chief Executive would be chosen by an ingenious method, the Electoral College, and would be responsible for representing all of the states for four years.
A relatively simple concept, a republic with extraordinary genius, provided a divided, balanced, representative government with a unique check and balance system.
The Men of 1787 were creating a republic, not a democracy, because they were aware of the fact that every democracy attempted in history ultimately failed.
Early in the 20th century, “designing politicians” took advantage of a population hungry for involvement in government. They convinced the citizens that the method of choosing their state senators’ was corrupt. Although corruption charges were, and continue to be a primary argument by proponents of the 17th Amendment, few cases are actually substantiated.
A strong populous consensus propelled a poorly thought out amendment in 1919. A total disregard to President Washington’s advice regarding “ mere hypotheses and opinion” took place. Apparently, little thought went into the purpose of senators, their length of term, or the long lasting effect the amendment would have on our republic.
Fast forward to our present situation. In a year’s time, three sitting senators died. Between these three senators, there were 120 years of governance. The Men of 1787 most certainly would not have approved of life long senators based in Washington DC.
A popularly elected senator with a term of six years has enabled the anomaly of numerous incumbent senators being reelected for a lifetime. Senators are keen to the factors enabling perpetual reelection. Population centers, minority groups, Ou of state funding, incumbency advantages, and an electorate that does not follow a senator’s action for six years, enables the cycle of perpetual reelection of senators. No longer must a senator represent the entire state, only population centers and minorities.
Take a look at recent senatorial races of any incumbent senator. One may find a true statesman, however, that proposition is highly unlikely. Senators are appeasing masses (or a population base), not representing states.
Research the voting trends of senatorial races throughout the nation. Observation of the district maps indicates that small geographical areas, population centers and minorities chose many winning senators.
Will these senators truly represent the entire state, or will they focus their attention on the areas from which they are elected? Historically they do not represent the state; instead they appease their electoral base every six years.
This amendment has caused the statesman to become a member of a national ruling elite rather than the state advocate they were meant to be. The statesman has become a politician from a national institution, The US Senate, rather than a state representative.
Politicians/US senators, appease those who elect them, and focus primarily on personal gain, a career, and the institutional power of the national senate, rather than a statesmen at the national level.
The shift from statesman to an elite Washington ruling body has also influenced the financing of senatorial races with an inordinate amount of out of state money.
A feasible solution is not simply to repeal the 17th Amendment or create term limits. The institution of designing elite politicians will obstruct and prevent the advance of any such suggestion. 17th Amendment proponents have suggested that repeal is not plausible, and those whom advocate such truths fail to understand the sophistication of modern technology’s ability to inform the electorate.
These imbedded elite politicians are just that, politicians, not statesmen, and will stop at nothing to maintain their position of power. These politicians are taking advantage of the people by convincing them of the “power” of an individuals vote for senator. By empowering the electorate with a vote, senators perpetuate their personal power, while sacrificing the essence of a republic.
I propose a simple alternative solution that will ensure republican principles while, allowing the electorate to participate in the selection of senators. This solution will also enable Congressmen to serve their local constituents better.
- Senators shall be chosen in a similar fashion as the Chief Executive is chosen at the national level. Each voting district in a state will be granted one vote for senator, rather than a simple state wide popular vote. Each district will compile the popular vote of their respective district, and award their single vote based on the popular vote from each district. Therefore, senators will be compelled to represent all districts of the state rather than simply appeasing the base that has elected them to a career senate seat. The senators would be held accountable by all of the state rather than the current popularity contest. The Senate is based on equal representation, not proportional representation. This simple change would contribute greatly to the restoration of republican principles and prompt senators to be statesmen once again.
- The second leg of reform is enlarging the House of Representatives so that the proportion of representative to constituents is approximately 1 per 250,000. The current population of 308 million would increase the size of this body to about 1,200 members. Changing this ratio would enable representatives to truly represent their local constituents. Representatives will continue to be elected directly by the popular vote of a district. Other benefits to enlarging the House of Representatives include fulfilling Constitutional intent and securing cooperation with population centers that oppose the idea of changing the popular election of senators.
- Thirdly, limit the amount of time congressmen are in Washington by utilizing today’s technology more effectively. The House of Representative members should be based in their local district, and senators in their state, not Washington D.C. Actual sessions in Washington can be limited significantly with today’s technology. This “new” kind of representative could truly represent the people of their district, and senators their states.
- Lastly, there must be change to the financing of elections by allowing only in state, or in district contribution’s for respective congressman.
Our Republic is hanging by a thread and will die if a genuine effort to return to republican principles is not undertaken immediately. Restructuring Congress in the manner prescribed is a step in saving our Republic.