Some people, however, failed to find the prosperity that freedom unleashed. Some people believed it unfair that some should prosper while others suffered. Some people believed that government should be the equalizer to ensure that the people who prospered paid the people who didn’t."Impasse in Washington: a Good Thing." By Henry Lamb, Gulag Bound, 8/7/11.
This idea was advanced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their 1848 book the Communist Manifesto. European immigrants helped to spread this idea in the last half of the 1800s, and by the end of the century, the ideas of Marx and Engels were wrapped in the “Progressive” label and infused both the Democrat and Republican political parties.
So annoyed were the Progressives by the impasse between the state-appointed Senate and the popularly-elected House of Representatives, they launched a campaign to rid the government of any participation by the states. William Randolph Hearst devoted his massive media machine to propaganda promising a better government and a better life when the 17th Amendment was ratified.
A major split in the Republican Party created Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose Party” which resulted in a Democrat victory for their leading Progressive, Woodrow Wilson. Among the many Progressive policies ushered in by the Wilson administration was the 17th Amendment, which authorized Senators to be elected by the public, instead of by state legislatures.