Interests versus ideology in the ratification of the 16th and 17th amendments

Randall G. Holcombe, Donald J. Lacombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The ideology of Progressivism that peaked in the early years of the 20th century brought with it the 16th amendment, which allowed the federal government to tax incomes, and the 17th amendment, which mandated direct elections of Senators. Both were ratified in 1913. The 16th amendment provided the financing for government to expand its scope, and the 17th amendment created more democratic accountability, which both were goals of the Progressive movement. An examination of House and Senate voting on these amendments suggests that those opposed to the amendments voted against them based on interests rather than ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-160
Number of pages18
JournalEconomics and Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


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