Southwick Research

An Autobiographical Collection of Observations and Investigations

by J. Wanless Southwick, Ph.D.




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Restoring Balance to American Government

Our original American Republic was ingeniously balanced, so that corruption and political expediency were held in check by structural impediments. The House of Representatives stood up for the interests of the people, while the Senate represented the interests of the states. Volatile passions of the people were counterbalanced by calm deliberation of the states.

Our precarious imbalance began in the name of “democracy,” when the 17th Amendment required senators to be elected directly by the people, instead of allowing each state legislature to choose two senators. The U. S. Senate changed from representing the needs of the several states into an autonomous receptacle for re-election campaign money.


The amount of money required for senatorial elections now exceeds half a billion dollars. [1] The corrupting cycle of contributions and favors is strangling our representative government! There would be NO NEED for senatorial campaign financing if the 17th Amendment were repealed. Each State Legislature would resume choosing their state’s two Senators, limiting tenure to those who effectively represent their state’s interests in the Congress.

States would regain their constitutional influence over federal spending, appointment of federal judges, ratification of treaties, the process of impeachment, and prevention of federal intrusion into state and personal affairs. The structure of power would decentralize, the growth of the federal government could be inhibited, the tendency toward corruption would be checked, and extreme mistakes would be minimized.


How to repeal the 17th Amendment

The process of repealing the 17th Amendment should expect:

  1. Congress will resist changing the existing power structure.
  2. People will be sensitive to losing their direct vote for Senators

Meet these two expectations head on by using the convention modes [2] of amending the Constitution of the United States:

1. Force the issue upon Congress by having “the legislatures of two thirds of the several States” apply to Congress to “call a convention” for the sole purpose of proposing a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment.

2. Let the people ratify the repeal amendment through state conventions. The repeal of the 17th Amendment will be accomplished when three fourths of the state conventions vote to ratify the repeal amendment.

Proposed language for the repeal amendment:

Section 1. The seventeenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


[1] The Campaign Finance Institute, George Washington University. 2010 estimated by comparing 2010 and 2008 “fundraising after 18 months.”

[2] Article V. “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;….”

Wanless Southwick - January 18, 2011

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