Down with the Seventeenth Amendment

I’m heading to Austin (where I’ll see you tomorrow, right?) tonight, but wanted to post this before leaving.  The Seventeenth Amendment, which provided for the direct election of U.S. senators (who had previously been chosen by the state legislatures), is one of the many episodes in American history that your seventh-grade teacher portrayed to you as unambiguously wonderful and progressive, so much so that no opposing view need even be mentioned.  Only a pigheaded idiot could oppose something as super as this, and you students aren’t pigheaded idiots, right?

Law professor Todd Zywicki has done some of the best work on this subject.  This book review he wrote is from 1997, but it gives a good overview of the real intent and the actual consequences of the Seventeenth Amendment, as opposed to the comic-book version we all got in school.

Share this post:Digg thisShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on Twitter
  • Jeremy


    Your cynical and sarcastic remarks about what we were taught in our youth really never gets old. The brashness that your present it with should not be reigned in: you hit the nail directly on the head.

    I just finished reading “Nullification.” The information in it is invaluable, but I was under the impression that it was going to be organized as a “handy little reference book.” I wish it fit in my pocket and had a practical index system.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Tom Woods

    Thanks. I intended it to be like that, but that’s how the publisher wanted it.

  • Joshua

    Tom, is there an audiobook version of Nullification available? If so, where can I get a copy?
    P.S. NEVER stop writing books. I LOVED PIG to American History as well as 33 Questions!!

  • Tom Woods

    Yes, click on the Nullification book page on this site:

  • Stephen MacLean

    I also recommend Zywicki’s ‘Repeal the 17th Amendment?’ Cato podcast.

  • John T. Sharp

    Right on Mr. Tom. The states have no voice in the federal government with the 17th.

  • y

    hi Dr. Woods,

    do you know if the lectures from Mises U will be posted online somewhere after they are recorded? I know they will be on Ustream, but I won’t be able to watch them live. thanks a lot.