Katherine Esten


Political families, or political dynasties, have existed in the United States Senate throughout American history. Despite changes in the electoral process through the passage of the 17th Amendment, political dynasties have remained prominent in American politics. The strength of political dynasties lies in the narrative the family presents. In early senatorial history, the narrative was framed by existing intra-state influence and patterns of class. However, after the introduction of popular election, the success of dynastic candidates ultimately depends on their ability to shape the narrative their family presents. Incorporating critical accounts of political dynasties both before and after the 17th Amendment, this paper argues that the creation and destruction of political dynasties in the modern era lies entirely in the hands of the voters and the narrative they are presented.



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