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17th Amendment: Direct Election of U.S. Senators

Notification of the Ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution

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Populist leader William Jennings Bryan had been a long time supporter of direct election. As Secretary of State in 1913, he announced via this notification that three-quarters of the states had ratified the proposed amendment for direct election of senators, and therefore it “had become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.”

Notification of the Ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, May 31, 1913; various papers of the 63rd Congress (SEN 63-M4); Records of the United States Senate, Record Group 46, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

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