List of amendments to the United States Constitution explained

This is the complete list of the ratified and unratified amendments to the United States Constitution which received the approval of the United States Congress. Twenty-seven amendments have been ratified since the original signing of the Constitution, the first ten of which are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. The procedure for amending the United States Constitution is governed by Article V of the original text. There have been many other proposals for amendments to the United States Constitution introduced in Congress, but not submitted to the states.

Before an amendment can take effect, it must be proposed to the states by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by two-thirds of the states, and ratified by three-fourths of the states or by three-fourths of conventions thereof, the method of ratification being determined by Congress at the time of proposal. To date, no convention for proposing amendments has been called by the states, and only once - in 1933 for the ratification of the twenty-first amendment - has the convention method of ratification been employed.

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Ratified amendments

AmendmentsProposal dateEnactment dateFull text
1stProtects the freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the governmentSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
2ndProtects an individual's right to bear armsSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
3rdProhibits the forced quartering of soldiers out of war timeSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
4thProhibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable causeSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
5thSets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardySeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
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 counselSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
7thProvides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common lawSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
8thProhibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishmentSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
9thProtects rights not enumerated in the constitution.September 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
10thLimits the powers of the federal government to those delegated to it by the ConstitutionSeptember 25, 1789December 15, 1791Full text
11thImmunity of states from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders. Lays the foundation for sovereign immunityMarch 4, 1794February 7, 1795Full text
12thRevises presidential election proceduresDecember 9, 1803June 15, 1804Full text
13thAbolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crimeJanuary 31, 1865December 6, 1865Full text
14thDefines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issuesJune 13, 1866July 9, 1868Full text
15thProhibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitudeFebruary 26, 1869February 3, 1870Full text
16thAllows the federal government to collect income taxJuly 12, 1909February 3, 1913Full text
17thEstablishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular voteMay 13, 1912April 8, 1913Full text
18thEstablishes Prohibition of alcohol (Repealed by Twenty-first Amendment)December 18, 1917January 16, 1919Full text
19thEstablishes women's suffrageJune 4, 1919August 18, 1920Full text
20thFixes the dates of term commencements for Congress (January 3) and the President (January 20); known as the "lame duck amendment"March 2, 1932January 23, 1933Full text
21stRepeals the Eighteenth AmendmentFebruary 20, 1933December 5, 1933Full text
22ndLimits the president to two terms, or a maximum of 10 years (i.e., if a Vice President serves not more than one half of a President's term, he or she can be elected to a further two terms)March 24, 1947February 27, 1951Full text
23rdProvides for representation of Washington, D.C. in the Electoral CollegeJune 16, 1960March 29, 1961Full text
24thProhibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of poll taxesSeptember 14, 1962January 23, 1964Full text
25thCodifies the Tyler Precedent; defines the process of presidential successionJuly 6, 1965February 10, 1967Full text
26thEstablishes the official voting age to be 18 years old.March 23, 1971July 1, 1971Full text
27thPrevents laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of CongressSeptember 25, 1789<-- do not change to 1989 -->May 5 or 7, 1992[1] Full text

Proposed amendments

See main article: List of proposed amendments to the United States Constitution. Six amendments have been passed by Congress and proposed but then did not get ratified by the appropriate number of states' legislatures. Four of these amendments are still technically pending before state lawmakers, one has expired by its own terms, and one has expired by the terms of the resolution proposing it (though that expiration is disputed).

AmendmentDate ProposedStatusSubject
Congressional Apportionment AmendmentSeptember 25, 1789Still pending before state lawmakersApportionment of U.S. Representatives
Titles of Nobility AmendmentMay 1, 1810Still pending before state lawmakersProhibition of titles of nobility
Corwin AmendmentMarch 2, 1861Still pending before state lawmakersPreservation of slavery
Child Labor AmendmentJune 2, 1924Still pending before state lawmakersCongressional power to regulate child labor
Equal Rights AmendmentMarch 22, 1972Expired 1979 or 1982 (some scholars disagree -- see main article), though possibly still able to be ratified as deadline has previously been extended and deadline was not placed in the Amendment's text.Prohibition of inequality of men and women
District of Columbia Voting Rights AmendmentAugust 22, 1978Expired 1985; cannot be revived as the deadline was in the amendment's text.D.C. voting rights

See also

References

External links

Notes and References

  1. The certification of the twenty-seventh amendment's ratification came on May 7, 1992, with Michigan being the 38th state to ratify it. It later came to light that Kentucky had ratified the amendment in 1792, technically making Missouri's the 38th state to ratify it, with Missouri's ratification occurring on May 5, 1992. The federal government's official record still holds that Michigan was the 38th state to ratify the amendment.