Item No: PIXC00050
Title: Mob Rule, My Dear Sir!
Additional Title: The Tyranny Of The Majority!
Print and Picture Collection
Before the ratification of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, state legislatures were responsible for picking U.S. Senators. This method proved problematic as "some state legislatures deadlocked over the election of a senator when different parties controlled different houses, and Senate vacancies could last months or years. In other cases, special interests or political machines gained control over the state legislature. Progressive reformers dismissed individuals elected by such legislatures as puppets and the Senate as a "millionaire’s club" serving powerful private interests."
The 17th Amendment was passed on May 13, 1912 and provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators by the common people. Drawn shortly before the Amendment's passage in Congress, this cartoon shows the expected dismay of corporation lawyers, criminal trusts, and of those benefiting from the usual machine politics of the time.
 Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives. (n.d.). 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Direct Election of U.S. Senators (1913). Retrieved from: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=58
Johnson, Herbert, 1878-1946 - Artist