Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established the prohibition of "intoxicating liquors" in the United States. The amendment was proposed by Congress on December 18, 1917, was ratified by the requisite number of states on January 16, 1919; the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5, 1933. The Eighteenth Amendment was the product of decades of efforts by the temperance movement, which held that a ban on the sale of alcohol would ameliorate poverty and other societal issues; the Eighteenth Amendment declared the production and sale of intoxicating liquors illegal, though it did not outlaw the actual consumption of alcohol. Shortly after the amendment was ratified, Congress passed the Volstead Act to provide for the federal enforcement of Prohibition; the Volstead Act declared that liquor and beer all qualified as intoxicating liquors and were therefore prohibited. Under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment, Prohibition began on January 17, 1920, one year after the amendment was ratified.
Although the Eighteenth Amendment led to a decline in alcohol consumption in the United States, nationwide enforcement of Prohibition proved difficult in cities. Organized crime and other groups engaged in large-scale bootlegging, speakeasies became popular in many areas. Public sentiment began to turn against Prohibition during the 1920s, 1932 Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in his platform; the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933, making the Eighteenth Amendment the only amendment to the U. S. Constitution to be repealed in its entirety. Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. Section 2; the Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress; the Eighteenth Amendment was the result of decades of effort by the temperance movement in the United States and at the time was considered a progressive amendment. Starting in 1906, the Anti-Saloon League began leading a campaign to ban the sale of alcohol on a state level, they led speeches and public demonstrations, claiming that banning the sale of alcohol would get rid of poverty and social issues, such as immoral behavior and violence. It would inspire new forms of sociability between men and women and they believed that families would be happier, fewer industrial mistakes would be made and overall, the world would be a better place. Other groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union began as well trying to ban the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
A well-known reformer during this time period was Carrie Amelia Moore Nation, whose violent actions made her a household name across America. Many state legislatures had enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment but did not ban the consumption of alcohol in most households, it took some states longer than others to ratify this amendment northern states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts. They violated the law by still allowing some beers to be sold. By 1916, 23 of 48 states had passed laws against saloons, some banning the manufacture of alcohol in the first place; the Temperance Movement was dedicated to the complete abstinence of alcohol from public life. The movement began in the early 1800s within Christian churches, was religiously motivated; the central areas the group was founded out of were in the Saratoga area of New York, as well as in Massachusetts. Churches were highly influential in gaining new members and support, garnering 6,000 local societies in several different states.
A group, inspired by the movement was the Anti-Saloon league, who at the turn of the 20th century began lobbying for prohibition in the United States. The group was founded in 1893 in the state of Ohio, gaining massive support from Evangelical Protestants, to becoming a national organization in 1895; the group was successful in helping implement prohibition, through heavy lobbying and having a vast influence. The group following repeal of prohibition fell out of power and in 1950 merged with other groups forming the National Temperance League. On August 1, 1917, the Senate passed a resolution containing the language of the amendment to be presented to the states for ratification; the vote was 65 to 20, with the Democrats voting 12 in opposition. The House of Representatives passed a revised resolution on December 17, 1917; this was the first amendment to impose a date by which it had to be ratified or else the amendment would be discarded. In the House, the vote was 282 to 128, with the Democrats voting 64 in opposition.
Four Independents in the House voted in two Independents cast votes against the amendment. It was proposed by the Congress to the states when the Senate passed the resolution, by a vote of 47 to 8, the next day, December 18; the amendment and its enabling legislati
Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. This amendment codifies the right to a jury trial in certain civil cases and inhibits courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact. An early version of the Seventh Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress proposed a revised version of the Seventh Amendment to the states on September 28, 1789, by December 15, 1791, the necessary three-quarters of the states had ratified it. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792; the Seventh Amendment is considered one of the more straightforward amendments of the Bill of Rights. While the Seventh Amendment's provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated every state voluntarily complies with this requirement; the prohibition of overturning a jury's findings of fact applies to federal cases, state cases involving federal law, to review of state cases by federal courts.
United States v. Wonson established the historical test, which interpreted the amendment as relying on English common law to determine whether a jury trial was necessary in a civil suit; the amendment thus does not guarantee trial by jury in cases under maritime law, in lawsuits against the government itself, for many parts of patent claims. In all other cases, the jury can be waived by consent of the parties; the amendment additionally guarantees a minimum of six members for a jury in a civil trial. The amendment's twenty dollar threshold has not been the subject of much scholarly or judicial writing and still remains applicable despite the inflation that has occurred since the late 18th century; the amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring a stronger chief executive and other changes. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties be included. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked implying that the federal government had power to violate every other right. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. In the final days of the convention, North Carolina delegate Hugh Williamson proposed a guarantee of trial by jury in federal civil cases, but a motion to add this guarantee was defeated.
However, adoption of the Constitution required that nine of the thirteen states ratify it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. One charge of the Anti-Federalists was that giving the U. S. Supreme Court jurisdiction "both as to law and fact" would allow it to deny the findings of jury trials in civil cases. Responding to these concerns, five state ratification conventions recommended a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to jury trial in civil cases. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments based on state bills of rights and English sources such as the Bill of Rights 1689. Among them was an amendment protecting findings of fact in civil cases exceeding a certain dollar value from judicial review.
Madison proposed that this amendment should be added directly to Article III, though Congress determined to add the proposed Bill of Rights to the end of the Constitution, leaving the original text intact. Congress reduced Madison's proposed twenty amendments to twelve, these were proposed to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789. By the time the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification, opinions had shifted in both parties. Many Federalists, who had opposed a Bill of Rights, now supported the Bill as a means of silencing the Anti-Federalists' most effective criticism. Many Anti-Federalists, in contrast, now opposed it, realizing that the Bill's adoption would lessen the chances of a second constitutional convention, which they desired. Anti-Federalists such as Richard Henry Lee argued that the Bill left the most objectionable portions of the Constitution, such as the federal judiciary and direct taxation, intact. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey ratified eleven of the twelve amendments, rejecting an amendment to regulate congressional pay raises.
On December 19 and 22 Maryland and North Carolina ratified all twelve amendments. On January 19, 25, 28, 1790 South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware ratified the Bill, though New Hampshire rejected the amendment on Congressional pay raises, Delaware rejected the Congressio
Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old. It was proposed by Congress on March 23, 1971, ratified on July 1, 1971, the quickest ratification of an amendment in history. Various public officials had supported lowering the voting age during the mid-20th century, but were unable to gain the legislative momentum necessary for passing a constitutional amendment; the drive to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 grew across the country during the 1960s, driven in large part by the military draft held during the Vietnam War, as well as the student activism movement. The draft conscripted young men between the ages of 18 and 21 into the armed forces the U. S. Army, to support military combat operations in Vietnam. A common slogan of proponents of lowering the voting age was "old enough to fight, old enough to vote."
Congress lowered the national voting age to 18 in a 1970 bill that extended the Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court subsequently held in the case of Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress could not lower the voting age for state and local elections. Shortly after that ruling, Congress proposed and the states ratified the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which constitutionally enshrined voting rights for individuals between 18 and 21 years old. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. Section 2; the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Senator Harley Kilgore began advocating for a lowered voting age in 1941 in the 77th Congress. Despite the support of fellow senators and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Congress failed to pass any national change. However, public interest in lowering the vote became a topic of interest at the local level.
In 1943 and 1955 the Georgia and Kentucky legislatures passed measures to lower the voting age to 18. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1954 State of the Union address, became the first president to publicly support prohibiting age-based denials of suffrage for those 18 and older. During the 1960s, both Congress and the state legislatures came under increasing pressure to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18; this was in large part due to the Vietnam War, in which many young men who were ineligible to vote were conscripted to fight in the war, thus lacking any means to influence the people sending them off to risk their lives. "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote" was a common slogan used by proponents of lowering the voting age. The slogan traced its roots to World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the military draft age to eighteen. In 1963, the President's Commission on Registration and Voting Participation, in its report to President Johnson, further encouraged considering lowering the voting age.
Historian Thomas H. Neale argues that the move to lower the voting age followed a historical pattern similar to other extensions of the franchise. In 1970, Senator Ted Kennedy proposed amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to lower the voting age nationally. On June 22, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required the voting age to be 18 in all federal and local elections. In his statement on signing the extension, Nixon said: Despite my misgivings about the constitutionality of this one provision, I have signed the bill. I have directed the Attorney General to cooperate in expediting a swift court test of the constitutionality of the 18-year-old provision. Subsequently and Texas challenged the law in court, the case came before the Supreme Court in 1970 as Oregon v. Mitchell. By this time, four states had a minimum voting age below 21: Georgia, Kentucky and Hawaii. During debate of the 1970 extension of the Voting Rights Act, Senator Ted Kennedy argued that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment allowed Congress to pass national legislation lowering the voting age.
In the 1966 decision of Katzenbach v. Morgan, the Supreme Court had ruled that "if Congress acts to enforce the 14th Amendment by passing a law declaring that a type of state law discriminates against a certain class of persons, the Supreme Court will let the law stand if the justices can'perceive a basis' for Congress's actions". President Nixon disagreed with Kennedy. In a letter to the Speaker of the House and the House minority and majority leaders, he asserted that the issue is not whether the voting age should be lowered, but how. In Oregon v. Mitchell, the Supreme Court considered whether the voting-age provisions Congress added to the Voting Rights Act in 1970 were constitutional; the Court struck down the provisions that established 18 as the voting age in state and local elections. However, the Court upheld the provision establishing the voting age as 18 in federal elections; the Court was divided in this case, a majority of justices did not agree on a rationale for the holding. The decision resulted in states being able to maintain 21 as the voting age in state and local elections, but being required to establish separate voter rolls so that voters between 18 and 20 years old could vote in federal elections.
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of the millions of former black slaves. By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black male voters was important for the party's future. On February 26, 1869, after rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude. After surviving a difficult ratification fight, the amendment was certified as duly ratified and part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870.
United States Supreme Court decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, southern states adopted new state constitutions and enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration; this resulted in most black voters and many poor white ones being disenfranchised by poll taxes and discriminatory literacy tests, among other barriers to voting, from which white male voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of white primaries and violent intimidation by white groups suppressed black participation. In the twentieth century, the Court began to interpret the amendment more broadly, striking down grandfather clauses in Guinn v. United States and dismantling the white primary system in the "Texas primary cases". Along with measures such as the Twenty-fourth Amendment, which forbade poll taxes in federal elections, Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, which forbade poll taxes in state elections, these decisions increased black participation in the American political system.
To enforce the amendment, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of elections in discriminatory jurisdictions, banned literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices, created legal remedies for people affected by voting discrimination. The amendment created a split within the women's suffrage movement over the amendment not prohibiting denying the women the right to vote on account of sex. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2; the Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern states.
Because the full population of freed slaves would be now counted rather than the three-fifths mandated by the previous Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states would increase their power in the population-based House of Representatives. Republicans hoped to offset this advantage by attracting and protecting votes of the newly enfranchised black population. In 1865, Congress passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude; the bill guaranteed equal benefits and access to the law, a direct assault on the Black Codes passed by many post-war Southern states. The Black Codes attempted to return ex-slaves to something like their former condition by, among other things, restricting their movement, forcing them to enter into year-long labor contracts, prohibiting them from owning firearms, by preventing them from suing or testifying in court. Although urged by moderates in Congress to sign the bill, President Johnson vetoed it on March 27, 1866.
In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, that it discriminated in favor of African Americans and against whites. Three weeks Johnson's veto was overridden and the measure became law; this was the first time in American history that Congress was able to muster the votes necessary to override a presidential veto. Despite this victory some Republicans who had supported the goals of the Civil Rights Act began to doubt that Congress possessed the constitutional power to turn those goals into laws; the experience encouraged both radical and moderate Republicans to seek Constitutional guarantees for black rights, rather than relying on temporary political majorities. On June 18, 1866, Congress adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship and equal protection under the laws regardless of race, sent it to the states for ratification. After a bitter struggle that included attempted rescissions of ratification by two states, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 28, 1868.
Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment punished, by reduced representation in the House of Representatives, any state that disenfranchised any male citizens over 21 years of age. By failing to adopt a harsher penalty, this signaled to the states that they still posse
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with issues related to presidential succession and disability. It clarifies that the Vice President becomes President if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office; the Twenty-fifth Amendment was submitted to the states on July 6, 1965, by the 89th Congress and was adopted on February 10, 1967. Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution reads: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President... This provision is ambiguous as to whether, in the enumerated circumstances, the vice president becomes the president, or assumes the "powers and duties" of the presidency, it fails to define what constitutes inability, or how questions concerning inability are to be resolved. The Twenty-fifth Amendment addresses these deficiencies. Section 1 clarifies that in the enumerated situations the vice president becomes president, instead of assuming the powers and duties of the presidency.
Section 2 addresses the Constitution's original failure to provide a mechanism for filling a vacancy in the office of vice president. The vice presidency had become vacant several times due to death, resignation, or succession to the presidency, these vacancies had lasted several years. Section 3 allows the president to voluntarily transfer his authority to the vice president by declaring in writing his inability to discharge his duties; the vice president assumes the powers and duties of the presidency as acting president. The president regains his powers and duties when he declares in writing that he is again ready to discharge them. Section 4 addresses the case of an incapacitated president, unable or unwilling to execute the voluntary declaration contemplated in Section 3, it allows the vice president, together with a "majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide," to declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" in a written declaration.
The transfer of authority to the vice president is immediate, the vice president becomes acting president – not president – while the president remains in office, albeit divested of all authority. The "principal officers of the executive departments" are the fifteen Cabinet members enumerated in the United States Code at 5 U. S. C 101: A president thus declared unable to serve may issue a counter-declaration stating that he is indeed able; this marks the beginning of a four-day period during which the vice president remains acting president. If by the end of this period the vice president and a majority of the "principal officers of the executive departments" have not issued a second declaration of the president's incapacity the president resumes his powers and duties. If a second declaration of incapacity is issued within the four-day period the vice president remains acting president while Congress considers the matter. If within 21 days the Senate and the House determine, each by a two-thirds vote, that the president is incapacitated the vice president continues as acting president.
Section 4's requirements for the vice president to remain acting president indefinitely – a declaration by the vice president together with a majority of the principal officers or other body a two-thirds vote of the House and a two-thirds vote of the Senate – contrasts with the Constitution's procedure for removal of the president from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors" – a majority of the House followed by two-thirds of the Senate. On October 12, 1973, following Vice President Spiro Agnew's resignation two days earlier, President Richard Nixon nominated Representative Gerald Ford of Michigan to succeed Agnew as vice president; the Senate voted 92–3 to confirm Ford on November 27 and, on December 6, the House of Representatives did the same by a vote of 387–35. Ford was sworn in that day before a joint session of the United States Congress; when President Richard Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency. Ford is the only person to serve as both vice president and president without being elected to either office.
When Gerald Ford became President, the office of vice president became vacant. On August 20, 1974, after considering Melvin Laird and George H. W. Bush, Ford nominated former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to be the new vice president. On December 10, Rockefeller was confirmed 90–7 by the Senate. On December 19, he was confirmed 287–128 by the House and was sworn in to office that day in the Senate chamber. On July 12, 1985, President Ronald Reagan underwent a colonoscopy, during which a precancerous lesion was discovered, he elected to have it removed and consulted with White House counsel Fred Fielding about whether to invoke Section 3, in particular about whether doing so would set an undesirable precedent. Fielding and White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan recommended that Reagan transfer power, two letters were drafted: one invoking Section 3, the other mentioning only that Reagan wa
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Article Five of the United States Constitution
Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Under Article V, the process to alter the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments, subsequent ratification. Amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states; the vote of each state carries equal weight, regardless of a state's population or length of time in the Union. Article V is silent regarding deadlines for the ratification of proposed amendments, but most amendments proposed since 1917 have included a deadline for ratification. Legal scholars agree that the amending process of Article V can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V, but there is some disagreement over whether Article V is the exclusive means of amending the Constitution.
In addition to defining the procedures for altering the Constitution, Article V shields three clauses in Article I from ordinary amendment by attaching stipulations. Regarding two of the clauses—one concerning importation of slaves and the other apportionment of direct taxes—the prohibition on amendment was absolute but of limited duration, expiring in 1808. Scholars disagree as to whether this shielded clause can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V; the Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.
Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been approved by the Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Twenty-seven of these amendments are now part of the Constitution; the first ten amendments were adopted and ratified 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 and are not part of the Constitution. Four of these amendments are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. All totaled 11,539 measures to amend the Constitution have been proposed in Congress since 1789. Article V provides two methods for amending the nation's frame of government; the first method authorizes Congress, "whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary", to propose Constitutional amendments. The second method requires Congress, "on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states", to "call a convention for proposing amendments".
This duality in Article V is the result of compromises made during the 1787 Constitutional Convention between two groups, one maintaining that the national legislature should have no role in the constitutional amendment process, another contending that proposals to amend the constitution should originate in the national legislature and their ratification should be decided by state legislatures or state conventions. Regarding the consensus amendment process crafted during the convention, James Madison declared: It guards against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable, it moreover enables the General and the State Governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other. Each time the Article V process has been initiated since 1789, the first method for crafting and proposing amendments has been used. All 33 amendments submitted to the states for ratification originated in the Congress; the second method, the convention option, a political tool which Alexander Hamilton argued would enable state legislatures to "erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority", has yet to be invoked.
When the 1st Congress considered a series of constitutional amendments, it was suggested that the two houses first adopt a resolution indicating that they deemed amendments necessary. This procedure was not used. Instead, both the House and the Senate proceeded directly to consideration of a joint resolution, thereby implying that both bodies deemed amendments to be necessary; when proposed by James Madison, the amendments were d