Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



This paper examines a unique aspect of Congressional history centering on the passage of the 17th amendment in 1913, which shifted the power of U.S. Senate elections from the state legislature to state electorates. This paper examines how the passage of the amendment affected the relationship between characteristics of the state electorate and the roll call behavior of U.S. Senators. Due to the historical nature of the time period, I use Presidential election results by state, party control of the governorship and upper and lower chambers of the state legislature, as well as a number of demographic variables, to estimate each state’s mass ideology. Poole and Rosenthal’s D-NOMINATE scores are also used to determine the liberal-conservative positions of members during this time period. Regression and pooled cross-sectional time-series models are utilized to test the hypotheses. I find that legislators, after the passage of the 17th amendment, become more apt to take the policy views of their constituents into account when voting. I also find evidence that Senators are more conservative in states where conservative elites are strongly agitating for the amendment.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

James C. Garand