Bell Ringers

Bell Ringer: The 17th Amendment and the Direct Election of Senators

17th Amendment

17th Amendment


U.S. Senate Historian Emeritus Richard Baker discussed the 17th amendment and the effect that the direct election of Senators had on the body.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • When did the 17th Amendment pass? When was the idea of direct election of senators first proposed? Why had it not previously passed?
  • Explain two of the factors that led to the passing of the 17th Amendment.
  • What effect did the passing of the amendment have on Senators and the Senate?

Additional Resource

  • Lesson Plan: The Expansion of Voting in the United States

    This lesson explores the expansion of voting rights in the United States through different Constitutional amendments and laws. It also applies these lessons to current issues relating to voting such as voter ID laws, felons and voting rights for the District of Columbia.



    • Amendment
    • Constitution
    • Direct Popular Election
    • Disenfranchise
    • Incumbent
    • Jim Crow Laws
    • Progressive Movement
    • Seventeenth Amendment
    • State Legislature


    AP U.S. Government Key TermsConstitutional FoundationLegislative Branch


    Middle SchoolHigh SchoolUniversity