Prior to the ratification of the 17th US Amendment, which declared the shift in the senators’ election process, senators were chosen with the help of state legislatures. Election framers believed that such a system would establish a tighter bond between the local governments and the overall US federal system.


After the Constitutional Convention, which took place in 1787, in Philadelphia, US legislative representatives were obliged to decide the way in which senators of each state were chosen. Among the options considered, there were variants of giving the responsibility to the House of Representatives or creating a direct election by people.

However, both possibilities failed to guarantee then primary goal – state union as a federative state with the equally accepted constitution. For this purpose, the system by which state legislatures were obliged to choose US senators was ratified due to its double benefit and crucial significance for the country’s development.

First of all, national government could be in such a way provided with all the opportunities for influence on each state and hence, ratification of an only constitution. Secondly, the elected senators could not worry about the pressure from the central government as they now could legally participate in the country’s life and make considerable contributions to its legal arrangement.

However, the senator elections through state legislatures were relevant from 1789 to 1913 as the central government then realized that senators should be chosen with the direct residents’ interaction. For this reason, in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified. According to the amendment, voters were allowed to cast direct votes for US senators and, hence, established the basis for democracy development across the state.