Popular Election Comes of Age
The decade of the 1940s was one in which Illinois was represented by two senators whose selection by the voters represented a maturing of the system of popular election. It was initiated by the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution thirty years earlier. Thereafter such decisions were to be made by vote of the people, rather than by the legislature.
So long as U.S. senators were chosen by the legislature, the voting public had at best an indirect voice and influence in that process. True, persons wishing to be sent to the Senate could attempt to influence the election of legislators who would look on them with favor, but at the same time, other factors might prove to be of greater weight.
When the procedure was changed by the Seventeenth Amendment to require the popular election of senators, it seemed for at least twenty-five more years that the voters were willing to allow party leaders, legislators, the governor, and the news media to continue to play leading roles in determining who would become members of the Senate from Illinois.
The old ways died hard, and it was not until 1938 that the voters of Illinois seemed fully to understand the power that was theirs in this essential process. With that realization came the elec
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Publication information: Book title: An Uncertain Tradition: U.S. Senators from Illinois, 1818-2003. Contributors: David Kenney - Author, Robert E. Hartley - Author. Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press. Place of publication: Carbondale, IL. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 131.
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