The Seventeenth Amendment and the Death of Federalism
RALPH ROSSUM P'01
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2001

The framers of the United States Constitution
believed that federalism would be protected
primarily by the manner of electing the Senate.
Professor Ralph Rossum argues that the Seventeenth Amendment, by replacing the election of senators by state
legislatures with direct election by the people, changed all that
and effectively killed federalism as a viable constitutional
principle capable of limiting the growing powers of the federal
government. In this lecture, based on his forthcoming book,
Rossum will explore the social and political forces at work in the
nation that led the states to clamor for an amendment that
effectively removed the crucial means for protecting the federal/
state balance and the interests of states as states.

Ralph Rossum is the director of the Rose Institute of State
and Local Government and the Henry Salvatori Professor of
American Constitutionalism at Claremont McKenna College; he
is also a member of the faculty of Claremont Graduate University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of
Chicago and is the author of seven books, including American
Constitutional Law: Cases and Interpretation
(1983), a two-volume work now in the fifth edition,
and over 60 book chapters or articles in law reviews and professional journals.

Prior to becoming director of the Rose Institute, Rossum was
project director of a $1 million grant to the Institute from the
U.S. Department of Justice to draft a model juvenile justice code
and work with state legislators to acquaint them with its
provisions. In the spring of 1994, he co-directed an international conference on comparative justice at the University of London.

Rossum has served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School
at Loyola University of Chicago, as Vice President and Dean of
the Faculty at Claremont McKenna College, and as President of
Hampden-Sydney College. He is currently chairman of the
Council of Scholars of the American Academy of Liberal
Education. Professor Rossum's lecture is part of the Athenaeum
series Faculty Ideas in Progress, as well as the series featuring
parents of CMC seniors (Brent Rossum '01).