A not-so-distant mirror: The 17th amendment and congressional change

Sara Brandes Crook, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


At the beginning of the century, the Constitution was amended to permit direct election of U.S. senators. We examine the shift to determine the extent to which an electoral reform can result in meaningful change. Variables are analyzed that tap the Senate's membership and responsiveness before and after direct election, and House data are employed to control for history effects. The results indicate that changing the mode of senatorial selection did indeed lead to alterations in the composition and sensitivity of the Senate, a finding that should encourage caution regarding the electoral reforms being advocated at the end of the century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-853
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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