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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

U.S. Amendments

By Kristy McCaffrey

Today is Election Day. I hope you’re getting out there and voting.

Did you know that this December commemorates the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights? The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments of the Constitution. They were proposed following the 1787-88 battle over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and were accepted on December 15, 1791.

Since that time more than 11,000 amendments have been proposed, but only 27 total have been ratified by the states and added to the Constitution. Here are a few that didn’t make the cut.

In 1878, it was proposed that an executive council of 3 would replace the president.

In 1893, an amendment was submitted that would make the United States an imperial power. If it had been ratified, children today would be saying, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Earth.”

In 1914, it was proposed that ending a marriage would be illegal. So, divorce would’ve led to jail time. No doubt some spouses would’ve taken that risk.

In 1933, it was submitted that no one could possess more than one million dollars in personal wealth.

Thankfully, in order to add an amendment, it must be both proposed and ratified before becoming operative, a process that was designed to strike a balance between constant change and rigidity.

On May 5, 1992, the 27th—and last—amendment was ratified. It delays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next election of representatives. It took nearly 203 years for this amendment to be added to the Constitution.

God Bless America

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  1. Thank you for adding to the conversation about our history. It is amazing how it all works. Doris

    1. It's interesting and important to understand how it works.

  2. I am always interested in the Constitution and how it came to be. It's amazing our congress can agree on anything to get it ratified. LOL I would love the day when they limit the terms of all congressmen to a maximum of two 4 year terms. Then they could make those salary increases to take place AFTER they are no longer in office. Wouldn't that be interesting?
    Great blog, Kristy and perfect timing for it.

    1. The founding fathers certainly anticipated future problems. :-)

  3. Interesting, Kristy. In California, one of our propositions deals with granting our state legislature permission to propose a new Constitutional amendment to overrule a Supreme Court ruling on allowing corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to campaigns. The analysis went into detail regarding the process for passing a Constitutional amendment. Your post was timely.

    1. With over 11,000 amendments proposed, it's clear this is done a lot. Ratifying them is an entirely different story. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. That last amendment about congressional salary changes not taking effect until after the next election sounds suspiciously self-serving, doesn't it. Will wonders never cease: Our govt officials in action.

  5. "...United States of Earth". *snort* That one made me laugh. It just doesn't flow trippingly off the tongue.

    Seriously, though, I feel so fortunate to live in a country where we have the right/privilege/responsibility to vote on amendments (crazy as some may be) and vote in elections for government offices, and so on. It's been my observation that regardless of the outcome of any presidential election, our lives have gone on without too many bumps in the governmental road. America is a pretty fine place to live. :-)

  6. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing this....all important information.