List of amendments to the United States Constitution

Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been proposed 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 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. All 33 amendments are listed and detailed in the tables below.

Article Five of the United States Constitution details the two-step process for amending the nation's frame of government. Amendments must be properly proposed and ratified before becoming operative. This process was designed to strike a balance between the excesses of constant change and inflexibility.[1]

An amendment may be proposed and sent to the states for ratification by either:

  • The U.S. Congress, whenever a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives deem it necessary; or
  • A national convention, called by Congress for this purpose, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states (34 since 1959).[2][3][4] The convention option has never been used.

To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38 since 1959) by either (as determined by Congress):

  • The legislatures of three-fourths of the states; or
  • State ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states.[3][4] The only amendment to be ratified through the state convention method thus far is the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. That amendment is also the only one that explicitly repeals an earlier one, the Eighteenth Amendment (ratified in 1919), establishing the prohibition of alcohol.[5]

When a constitutional amendment is sent to the states for ratification, the Archivist of the United States is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. § 106b.[6] Then, upon being properly ratified, the archivist issues a certificate proclaiming that an amendment has become an operative part of the Constitution.[3]

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's authority to set a ratification deadline was affirmed in 1939 by the United States Supreme Court in Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433).[4]

Approximately 11,770 proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress since 1789 (as of January 3, 2019).[4][7] Collectively, members of the House and Senate typically propose around 200 amendments during each two-year term of Congress.[8] Proposals have covered numerous topics, but none made in recent decades have become part of the Constitution. Historically, most died in the congressional committees to which they were assigned. Since 1999, only about 20 proposed amendments have received a vote by either the full House or Senate. The last time a proposal gained the necessary two-thirds support in both the House and the Senate for submission to the states was the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment in 1978. Only 16 states had ratified it when the seven-year time limit expired.[9]

Ratified amendments

Synopsis of each ratified amendment

For the full text of amendments to the United States Constitution, see Additional amendments to the United States Constitution on Wikisource

No. Subject Ratification[10][11]
Proposed Completed Time span
1st[12] Protects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition the government. September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
2nd[13] Protects the right to keep and bear arms September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
3rd[14] Restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
4th[15] Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
5th[16] Sets 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, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
6th[17] Protects the right to a speedy public trial by jury, to notification of criminal accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
7th[18] Provides for the right to a jury trial in civil lawsuits September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
8th[19] Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
9th[20] States that rights not enumerated in the Constitution are retained by the people September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
10th[21] States that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated, or enumerated, to it through the Constitution September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
11th Makes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders; lays the foundation for state sovereign immunity March 4, 1794 February 7, 1795 340 days
12th Revises presidential election procedures by having the president and vice president elected together as opposed to the vice president being the runner up in the presidential election December 9, 1803 June 15, 1804 189 days
13th Abolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime January 31, 1865 December 6, 1865 309 days
14th Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post–Civil War issues June 13, 1866 July 9, 1868 2 years, 26 days
15th Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude February 26, 1869 February 3, 1870 342 days
16th Permits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the various states or basing it on the United States Census July 12, 1909 February 3, 1913 3 years, 206 days
17th Establishes the direct election of United States senators by popular vote May 13, 1912 April 8, 1913 330 days
18th Prohibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol within the United States
(Repealed December 5, 1933, via the 21st Amendment)
December 18, 1917 January 16, 1919 1 year, 29 days
19th Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex June 4, 1919 August 18, 1920 1 year, 75 days
20th Changes the dates on which the terms of the President and Vice President, and of members of Congress, begin and end, to January 20 and January 3 respectively. States that if the President-elect dies before taking office, the Vice President–elect is to be inaugurated as President. March 2, 1932 January 23, 1933 327 days
21st[22] Repeals the 18th Amendment and makes it a federal offense to transport or import intoxicating liquors into U.S. states and territories where such is prohibited by law February 20, 1933 December 5, 1933 288 days
22nd[23] Limits the number of times a person can be elected President. March 21, 1947 February 27, 1951 3 years, 343 days
23rd[24] Grants the District of Columbia electors in the Electoral College June 16, 1960 March 29, 1961 286 days
24th Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of a poll tax or any other tax September 14, 1962 January 23, 1964 1 year, 131 days
25th Addresses succession to the presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the vice president and responding to presidential disabilities July 6, 1965 February 10, 1967 1 year, 219 days
26th Prohibits the denial of the right of US citizens eighteen years of age or older to vote on account of age March 23, 1971 July 1, 1971 100 days
27th Delays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next election of representatives September 25, 1789 May 5, 1992 202 years, 223 days

Summary of ratification data for each ratified amendment

LEGEND  Y indicates that state ratified amendment
N indicates that state rejected amendment
Y(‡) indicates that state ratified amendment after first rejecting it
Y(×) indicates that state ratified amendment, later rescinded that ratification, but subsequently re-ratified it
indicates that state did not complete action on amendment
indicates that amendment was ratified before state joined the Union
State
(in order of statehood)
Ammendment
1–10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
DelawareYYNY(‡)Y(‡)Y(‡)YY(‡)YY(‡)YYYYYYYY
PennsylvaniaYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
New JerseyYYY(‡)Y(×)Y(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
GeorgiaYYYYY(‡)YYYY(‡)YYYY
ConnecticutYYNYYYNYNYYYYYYYYY
MassachusettsYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYNYYYY
MarylandYYYYY(‡)Y(‡)YYYY(‡)YYYYYYYY
South CarolinaYYYYY(‡)YYYY(‡)YNYYYY
New HampshireYYYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYY
VirginiaYYYYY(‡)YNYY(‡)YYYYYYY
New YorkYYYYYY(×)YYYYYYYYYYY
North CarolinaYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYY
Rhode IslandYYYYYYNYNYYYYYYYY
VermontYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Kentucky...YYY(‡)Y(‡)Y(‡)YYYYYYYY
Tennessee......YYYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Ohio......YYY(×)Y(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Louisiana.........YY(‡)YYYYY(‡)YYYYY
Indiana.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Mississippi.........Y(‡)YYYYY(‡)YYNY
Illinois.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Alabama.........YYYYYYY(‡)YYYYYYYY
Maine.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Missouri.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Arkansas.........YYYY(‡)YYYYYYNYYY
Michigan.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Florida.........YYYYYYYYYYY
Texas.........YY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Iowa.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Wisconsin.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
California.........YYY(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Minnesota.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Oregon.........YY(×)Y(‡)YYYYYYYYYYYY
Kansas.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYY
West Virginia.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Nevada.........YYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Nebraska............YYYYYYYYYYYYY
Colorado..................YYYYYYYYYYYY
North Dakota..................YYYYYYYYY
South Dakota..................YYYYYYYYY
Montana..................YYYYYYYYYYYY
Washington..................YYYYYYYYYYY
Idaho..................YYYYYYYYYYYY
Wyoming..................YYYYYYYYYYY
Utah..................NNYYYYYYYYY
Oklahoma..................YYYYYNYYYY
New Mexico..................YYYYYYYYYYY
Arizona..................YYYYYYYYYY
Alaska.......................................YYYYY
Hawaii.......................................YYYYY
State
(in order of statehood)
1–10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Ammendment
     Source: [25]

Unratified amendments

Synopsis of each unratified amendment

Title Subject Status
Congressional Apportionment Amendment Would strictly regulate the size of congressional districts for representation in the House of Representatives. Pending since September 25, 1789
Titles of Nobility Amendment Would strip citizenship from any United States citizen who accepts a title of nobility from a foreign country. Pending since May 1, 1810
Corwin Amendment Would 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 Amendment Would empower the federal government to limit, regulate, and prohibit child labor. Pending since June 2, 1924
Equal Rights Amendment Would have prohibited deprivation of equality of rights by the federal or state governments on account of sex. Proposed March 22, 1972; initial ratification period ended March 22, 1979, and extension period ended June 30, 1982; amendment failed, but status has been questioned[lower-alpha 1]
District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment Would have treated the District of Columbia as if it were a state regarding representation in the United States Congress (including repealing the 23rd Amendment), representation in the Electoral College and participation in the process by which the Constitution is amended. Proposed August 22, 1978; ratification period ended August 22, 1985; amendment failed
  1. Between 1972 and 1977, 35 states ratified the ERA. Three additional states ratified it between 2017 and 2020, purportedly bringing the number of ratifications to 38, or three-fourths of the states. In January 2020, after the Justice Department issued an opinion that the deadline for the passage of the amendment expired at the time of the original 1979 deadline, the attorneys general of those three states filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. challenging that opinion. They are asking the court to force the archivist of the United States to "carry out his statutory duty of recognizing the complete and final adoption" of the ERA as the Twenty-eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[26][27]

Summation of ratification data for each unratified amendment

Y indicates that state ratified amendment
N indicates that state rejected amendment
Y(‡) indicates that state ratified amendment after first rejecting it
Y(×) indicates that state ratified amendment, but later rescinded that ratification
indicates that state did not complete action on amendment during stated ratification period.
Y indicates that state ratified amendment after stated ratification period.
"00" An empty cell indicates that state has not completed action on pending amendment.
State
(in alphabetical order)
Congressional Apportionment
Titles of Nobility
Corwin
Child Labor
Equal Rights
District of Columbia Voting Rights
Alabama
AlaskaY
ArizonaY
ArkansasY
CaliforniaYY
ColoradoYY
ConnecticutNNNYY
DelawareNYNYY
FloridaN
GeorgiaNYN
HawaiiYY
IdahoYY(×) 1977
IllinoisYYY
2018
IndianaY(‡)Y
IowaYYY
KansasY(‡)Y
KentuckyYYYY(‡)Y(×) 1978
LouisianaNY
MaineY(‡)YY
MarylandYYY(×) 2014NYY
MassachusettsNYNYY
MichiganYYY
MinnesotaY(‡)YY
Mississippi
MissouriN
MontanaYY
NebraskaY(×) 1973
NevadaYY
2017
New HampshireYYY(‡)Y
New JerseyYYYYY
New MexicoY(‡)Y
New YorkYNY
North CarolinaYYN
North DakotaYY
OhioYY(×) 1864YYY
OklahomaY
OregonYYY
PennsylvaniaY(‡)YY(‡)Y
Rhode IslandYNYYY
South CarolinaYN
South DakotaNY(×) 1979
TennesseeYNY(×) 1974
TexasNY
UtahY(‡)
VermontYYNY
VirginiaYN⋈Y
2020
WashingtonYY
West VirginiaYYY
WisconsinYYY
WyomingYY
Number of ratifications:11125
(× 2)
2835
(× 5)
(Y 3)
16

See also

  • History of the United States Constitution
  • Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution

References

  1. England, Trent; Spalding, Matthew. "Essays on Article V: Amendments". The Heritage Guide to The Constitution. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  2. Wines, Michael (August 22, 2016). "Inside the Conservative Push for States to Amend the Constitution". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  3. "Constitutional Amendment Process". Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. August 15, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  4. "Constitution Day: Proposed Amendments". clayton.edu. Morrow, Georgia: Clayton State University. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  5. George, Robert P.; Richards, David A. J. "The Twenty-First Amendment". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. Huckabee, David C. (September 30, 1997). "Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution" (PDF). Congressional Research Service reports (97-922 GOV). Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress. Retrieved February 23, 2019 via University of North Texas Digital Library.
  7. "Measures Proposed to Amend the Constitution". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Secretary, United States Senate. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  8. "C-SPAN's Capitol Questions". June 9, 2000. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  9. DeSilver, Drew (April 12, 2018) [Update, originally published September 17, 2014]. "Proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution seldom go anywhere". pewresearch.org. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  10. "The Bill of Rights". America's Founding Documents. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. 2015-10-31. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  11. "The Constitution: Amendments 11-27". America's Founding Documents. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. 2015-11-04. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. "First Amendment: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  13. "Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  14. "Third Amendment: Quartering of Soldiers". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  15. "Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  16. "Fifth Amendment: Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self Incrimination, Due Process, Takings". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  17. "Sixth Amendment: Right to Speedy Trial by Jury, Witnesses, Counsel". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  18. "Seventh Amendment: Jury Trial in Civil Lawsuits". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  19. "Eighth Amendment: Excessive Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  20. "Ninth Amendment: Non-Enumerated Rights Retained by People". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  21. "Tenth Amendment: Rights Reserved to States or People". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  22. "21st Amendment: Repeal of Prohibition". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  23. "22nd Amendment: Two-Term Limit on Presidency". constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  24. "23rd Amendment: Presidential Vote for D.C." constitutioncenter.org. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  25. Garcia, Michael J.; Lewis, Catlain Devereaux; Nolan, Andrew; Toten, Meghan; Tyson, Ashley, eds. (2017). "Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation" (PDF). 112th Congress, 2nd Session. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. pp. 25–45. Senate Document No. 112–9. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  26. Stracqualursi, Veronica (January 30, 2020). "Three Democratic attorneys general sue to have Equal Rights Amendment added to Constitution". CNN. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  27. Marr, Chris (October 13, 2020). "Equal Rights Amendment Denied Supreme Court Hearing for Now (1)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
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