The US Constitution Has Had 11,000 Proposals To Amend It, Not All Were Good.

An 1838 proposed amendment to the Constitution called for prohibiting any person involved in a duel from holding federal office. (National Archive)
An 1838 proposed amendment to the Constitution called for prohibiting any person involved in a duel from holding federal office. (National Archive)

(Source: Washington Post)

March 9 at 6:34 PM

 

What if we selected the president by lottery?

Or changed the name of the country to the United States of the World?

Or limited how wealthy a person could be?

How about if we outlawed drunkenness, prohibited divorce, or forbade duelists from holding public office.

What say we?

 All these have been suggested amendments to the Constitution — some of the 11,000 proposals made over the years to adjust one of the nation’s founding documents.

Only 27 have been ratified.

This week the National Archives marks the 225th anniversary of the Constitution’s first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, with a new exhibit, “Amending America,” which opens Friday at the archives building in Washington.

Starting with the Bill of Rights, ratified by the states in 1791, the exhibit is a walk through the history of constitutional tinkering — things proposed, rejected and approved.

It includes 36 documents that have never been displayed before.

The Constitution, in Article 5, allows itself to be changed, said Christine Blackerby, a specialist with the National Archives’ Center for Legislative Archives.

“What it says is that two-thirds of both houses of Congress have to pass a proposed amendment,” she said during a preview of the exhibit Tuesday. “Step two is that proposed amendment by Congress is sent out to the states and three-quarters of the states have to ratify it.”

Read the full article by

and also the associated article: [Founding father’s papers now online]

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