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Amending the U. S. Constitution
The writers of the Constitution recognized that, from time to time, it would be appropriate to change the rules.
This process is called Amending the Constitution. They created a set of rules that guide this changing process.
These rules are set down in Article V.

There have been an abundance of attempts to amend the Constitution. "Since 1789, over 10,000 amendments to the Constitution
have been proposed in Congress. Of those, only 33 were sent to the states for ratification, and only 27 were ultimately ratified." C-Span Capitol Questions 2000.

What is the role of the U. S. President in the amendment process?

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

What is the most recent amendment to the Constitution?

What prompted it?

How long did it take to ratify it?

 

Create an explanation of how to amend the U. S. Constitution.

Real life example - Washington D.C. representation in Congress

Your family has just moved to Washington D.C. because your mother is working for a national lobbying group. Your family settles in the city so that you can have easy access to all the cultural and history resources it offers. You discover that residents of Washington D.C. do not have the same representation in Congress as all the other U.S. citizens do.

You learn of the proposed "The Washington DC Voting Rights Amendment".

On the other hand ... Nathaniel Ward argues

"The Founders intended that the nation's capital remain autonomous and not subject to political pressure from a state government.
In other words, they deliberately crafted the Constitution so that the District would not be within a state.In The Federalist No. 43, James Madison argued that situating the capital city within a state would subject the
federal government to undue influence by the host state:

The indispensable necessity of compleat authority at the seat of Government carries its own evidence with it. It is a power exercised by every Legislature of the Union, I might say of the world, by virtue of its general supremacy. Without it, not only the public authority might be insulted and its proceedings be interrupted, with impunity; but a dependence of the members of the general Government, on the State comprehending the seat of the Government for protection in the exercise of their duty, might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable to the Government, and dissatisfactory to the other members of the confederacy."

Other resources: See D.C. Vote | The DC Voting Rights Education Project from League of Women Voters.

1. What do you think? Should the people of Washington D.C. have equal representation in Congress and local control of their government? Why?

2. Describe several ways that students like yourself can work positively to support the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

Extra: Contrast your state constitution's amendment process with the U.S. Constitution process.

"All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution." James Madison

National Constitution Center - Interactive Constitution

Constitution Activity ms/hs Essays on civics Quotes on government Voting & Elections Civics & History Studies
Make Election Puzzle Bill Of Rights hs Elections Bill of Rights ms Thomas Paine Bridges or Earmarks
Electoral College Diversity American Creed Amend the Constitution Constitution Jobs Initiatives
Who is in Charge? eGovernment Fire Legislator Who gets Fines? First Amendment Rights Public's Right to Know
Founded on Compromise Susan B. Anthony & the Right to vote Examine your Government's Demographic Statistics Evaluate Legislator Youth voters

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posted 8/2006, updated 5/2015
In the spirit of Thomas Paine - released to public domain by Cynthia J. O'Hora

Aligned with the following Pennsylvania Academic Standards - Reading, Writing Speaking, History, Civics and Government, Civics, Science and Technology.
Aligned with the National Standards for Civics and Government

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