List of amendments to the United States Constitution

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
1920 Tennessee certificate of ratification of the 19th Amendment. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment, that being the number of states required for full implementation.

This is the complete list of the thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution which have been adopted by the United States Congress and sent to the states for ratification since the Constitution was put into operation on March 4, 1789. Twenty-seven of these, having been ratified by the requisite number of states, are part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states. Four of these amendments are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, and one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it.

Approximately 11,539 proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress since 1789.[1] Collectively, members of the House and Senate typically propose around 200 amendments during each two–year term of Congress.[2] Most however, never get out of the Congressional committees in which they were proposed, and only a fraction of those that do receive enough support to win Congressional approval to actually go through the constitutional ratification process.

The framers of the Constitution, recognizing the difference between regular legislation and constitutional matters, intended that it be difficult to change the Constitution; but not so difficult as to render it an inflexible instrument of government. The amending process they devised, codified in Article Five of the United States Constitution, has two steps. Proposals to amend the Constitution must be properly Adopted and Ratified before becoming operative.

A proposed amendment may be adopted and sent to the states for ratification by either:
To become part of the Constitution, an adopted amendment must be ratified by either (as determined by Congress):
  • The legislatures of three-fourths (presently 38) of the states, within the stipulated time period—if any;
Upon being properly ratified, an amendment becomes an operative addition to the Constitution.

There is a proviso at the end of Article V shielding three clauses in the new frame of government from being amended. They are: Article I, Section 9, Clause 1, concerning the migration and importation of slaves; Article I, Section 9, Clause 4, concerning Congress' taxing power; and, Article I, Section 3, Clause 1, which provides for equal representation of the states in the Senate. These are the only textually entrenched provisions of the Constitution. The shield protecting the first two entrenched clauses was absolute but of limited duration; it was in force only until 1808. The shield protecting the third entrenched clause, though less absolute than that covering the others is practically permanent; it will be in force until there is unanimous agreement among the states favoring a change.

Beginning in the early 20th century, Congress has usually, but not always, stipulated that an amendment must be ratified by the required number of states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states in order to become part of the Constitution. Congress' authority to set ratification deadline was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939).

Ratified amendments

Synopsis of each ratified amendment

#SubjectDate submitted for Ratification[3]Date ratification completed[3]Ratification time span[4]
1stProhibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
2ndProtects the right to keep and bear arms.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
3rdProhibits quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent during peacetime.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
4thProhibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause as determined by a neutral judge or magistrate.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
5thSets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
6thProtects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including the rights to be notified of the accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
7thProvides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
8thProhibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
9thProtects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
10thReinforces the principle of federalism by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the states or the people through the Constitution.September 25, 1789December 15, 17912 years
2 months
20 days
11thMakes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders; lays the foundation for sovereign immunity.March 4, 1794February 7, 179511 months
3 days
12thRevises presidential election procedures.December 9, 1803June 15, 18046 months
6 days
13thAbolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.January 31, 1865December 6, 186510 months
6 days
14thDefines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues.June 13, 1866July 9, 18682 years
0 months
26 days
15thProhibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.February 26, 1869February 3, 187011 months
8 days
16thPermits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census.July 12, 1909February 3, 19133 years
6 months
22 days
17thEstablishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote.May 13, 1912April 8, 191310 months
26 days
18thProhibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol within the United States.
(Repealed December 5, 1933)
December 18, 1917January 16, 19191 year
0 months
29 days
19thProhibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex.June 4, 1919August 18, 19201 year
2 months
14 days
20thChanges the date on which the terms of the President and Vice President (January 20) and Senators and Representatives (January 3) end and begin.March 2, 1932January 23, 193310 months
21 days
21stRepeals the 18th Amendment and prohibits the transportation or importation into the United States of alcohol for delivery or use in violation of applicable laws.February 20, 1933December 5, 19339 months
15 days
22ndLimits the number of times that a person can be elected president: a person cannot be elected president more than twice, and a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once.March 24, 1947February 27, 19513 years
11 months
6 days
23rdGrants the District of Columbia electors (the number of electors being equal to the least populous state) in the Electoral College.June 16, 1960March 29, 19619 months
12 days
24thProhibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of a poll tax.September 14, 1962January 23, 19641 year
4 months
27 days
25thAddresses succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities.July 6, 1965February 10, 19671 year
7 months
4 days
26thProhibits the denial of the right of US citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age.March 23, 1971July 1, 19713 months
8 days
27thDelays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next election of representatives.September 25, 1789May 7, 1992202 years
7 months
12 days

Summation of ratification data for each ratified amendment

" Y " indicates that the state ratified the amendment.
" N " indicates that the state rejected the amendment and has not ratified it.
" Y(‡) " indicates that the state's ratification of the amendment came after the state had officially rejected it.
" Y(×) " indicates that after officially ratifying the amendment the state rescinded that ratification, but later re-ratified it.
" — " indicates that the state did not complete action on the amendment.
" " indicates that the amendment was ratified before the state joined the Union.
(in order of statehood)
Delaware · DelawareYYNY(‡)Y(‡)Y(‡)YNYY(‡)YYYYYYYY
Pennsylvania · PennsylvaniaYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
New Jersey · New JerseyYYY(‡)Y(×)Y(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Georgia (U.S. state) · GeorgiaYYYYY(‡)YYYY(‡)YYYY
Connecticut · ConnecticutYYNYYYNYNYYYYYYYYY
Massachusetts · MassachusettsYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYNYYYY
Maryland · MarylandYYYYY(‡)Y(‡)YYYY(‡)YYYYYYYY
South Carolina · South CarolinaYYYYY(‡)YYYY(‡)YNYYYY
New Hampshire · New HampshireYYYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYY
Virginia · VirginiaYYYYY(‡)YNYY(‡)YYYYYYY
North Carolina · North CarolinaYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYY
Rhode Island · Rhode IslandYYYYYYNNYYYYYYYY
Kentucky · KentuckyYYY(‡)Y(‡)Y(‡)YYYYYYYY
Tennessee · TennesseeYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Louisiana · LouisianaYY(‡)YYYYY(‡)YYYYY
Mississippi · MississippiY(‡)YYYYY(‡)YYNY
Illinois · IllinoisYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Alabama · AlabamaYYYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYY
Missouri · MissouriYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Arkansas · ArkansasYYYY(‡)YYYYYYNYYY
Michigan · MichiganYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Florida · FloridaYYYYYYYYYYY
Wisconsin · WisconsinYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
California · CaliforniaYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Minnesota · MinnesotaYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Oregon · OregonYY(×)Y(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
West Virginia · West VirginiaYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Nebraska · NebraskaYYYYYYYYYYYY
Colorado · ColoradoYYYYYYYYYYYY
North Dakota · North DakotaYYYYYYYYY
South Dakota · South DakotaYYYYYYYYY
Montana · MontanaYYYYYYYYYYYY
Washington (state) · WashingtonYYYYYYYYYYY
Wyoming · WyomingYYYYYYYYYYY
Oklahoma · OklahomaYYYYYNYYYY
New Mexico · New MexicoYYYYYYYYYYY
Arizona · ArizonaYYYYYYYYYY
Alaska · AlaskaYYYYY
Hawaii · HawaiiYYYYY
(in order of statehood)

Unratified amendments

Synopsis of each unratified amendment

Congressional Apportionment AmendmentWould strictly regulate the size of congressional districts for representation in the House of Representatives.Pending since September 25, 1789
Titles of Nobility AmendmentWould strip citizenship from any United States citizen who accepts a title of nobility from a foreign country.Pending since May 1, 1810
Corwin AmendmentWould make the states' "domestic institutions" (slavery) impervious to the constitutional amendment procedures established in Article V and immune to abolition or interference from Congress.Pending since March 2, 1861
Child Labor AmendmentWould empower the federal government to limit, regulate, and prohibit child labor.Pending since June 2, 1924
Equal Rights AmendmentWould have prohibited deprivation of equality of rights by the federal or state governments on account of sex.Initial ratification period ended March 22, 1979
and extension period ended June 30, 1982; amendment failed
District of Columbia Voting Rights AmendmentWould have granted the District of Columbia full representation in the United States Congress as if it were a state, repealed the 23rd Amendment and granted the District full representation in the Electoral College plus participation in the process by which the Constitution is amended as if it were a state.Ratification period ended August 22, 1985;
Amendment failed

Summation of ratification data for each unratified amendment

" Y " indicates that the state ratified the amendment.
" N " indicates that the state rejected the amendment and has not ratified it.
" Y(‡) " indicates that the state's ratification of the amendment came after the state had officially rejected it.
" Y(×) " indicates that after officially ratifying the amendment the state rescinded that ratification.
"" indicates that the state did not complete action on the amendment during the stated ratification period.
An empty cell indicates that the state has not completed action on the pending amendment.
(in alphabetical order)
Unratified congressional apportionment amendment.pngUnratified titles of nobility amendment.pngUnratified corwin amendment.pngUnratified child labor amendment.pngNot ratified equal rights amendment.pngNot ratified DC voting rights amendment.png
Alabama · Alabama
Alaska · AlaskaY
Arizona · ArizonaY
Arkansas · ArkansasY
California · CaliforniaYY
Colorado · ColoradoYY
Connecticut · ConnecticutNNNYY
Delaware · DelawareNYNYY
Florida · FloridaN
Georgia (U.S. state) · GeorgiaNYN
Hawaii · HawaiiYY
Idaho · IdahoYY(×)
Illinois · IllinoisYY
Indiana · IndianaY(‡)Y
Iowa · IowaYYY
Kansas · KansasY(‡)Y
Kentucky · KentuckyYYY(‡)Y(×)
Louisiana · LouisianaNY
Maine · MaineY(‡)YY
Maryland · MarylandYYY(×)NYY
Massachusetts · MassachusettsNYNYY
Michigan · MichiganYYY
Minnesota · MinnesotaY(‡)YY
Mississippi · Mississippi
Missouri · MissouriN
Montana · MontanaYY
Nebraska · NebraskaY(×)
Nevada · NevadaY
New Hampshire · New HampshireYYY(‡)Y
New Jersey · New JerseyYYYYY
New Mexico · New MexicoY(‡)Y
New York · New YorkYNY
North Carolina · North CarolinaYYN
North Dakota · North DakotaYY
Ohio · OhioYY(×)YYY
Oklahoma · OklahomaY
Oregon · OregonYYY
Pennsylvania · PennsylvaniaY(‡)YY(‡)Y
Rhode Island · Rhode IslandYNYY
South Carolina · South CarolinaYN
South Dakota · South DakotaNY(×)
Tennessee · TennesseeYNY(×)
Texas · TexasNY
Utah · UtahY(‡)
Vermont · VermontYYNY
Virginia · VirginiaYN
Washington (state) · WashingtonYY
West Virginia · West VirginiaYYY
Wisconsin · WisconsinYYY
Wyoming · WyomingYY
Total ratifications11[5]123(×2)2835(×5)16

See also


  1. ^ "Measures Proposed to Amend the Constitution". Statistics & Lists. United States Senate. 
  2. ^ "C-SPAN's Capitol Questions". Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  3. ^ a b U.S. Congress, House. The Constitution of the United States of America, As Amended, H. Doc. 102-188, 102nd Cong., 2nd sess., (Washington: GPO, 1992).
  4. ^ Ratification time span calculated by
  5. ^


External links