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The constitution was written very long time ago
Way back in 1787
The framers of the constitution knew that over the years, things would change.
But they wanted to ensure that the government system would stand the test of time.
So they made sure that there would be a process in the constitutions to change with the times.
How do we know they wanted this?
If we look at Article V of the constitution, you see language that begins, ?The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution?.
So the provided a way to change the constitution.
After watching this video, you would
1. recognize the methods used to propose and ratify amendments to the U.S. constitution.
2. Identify the correct sequence of each amendment process.
3. Identify the importance of a formal amendment process.
4. Recognize the significance of the difficulty of formally amending the U.S constitution.
So we will be talking about things like Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Ratifying amendments quite a bit throughout this video.
So let?s make sure you guys understand what we are talking about here.
We will start with amendment. Where then amendment is a change to a constitution. It can be the US constitution or the Florida constitution.
When an amendment is Proposed that means that somebody is making a suggestion for how to change the constitution.
Keep in mind. Just because an amendment is proposed, doesn?t mean it will actually change the constitution because it has to be ratified first.
Keep in mind, as we said, we don?t actually make an amendment to the constitution unless we ratify it.
To Ratify means to confirm by expressing consent or approval of something. And so we have to ratify an amendment.
We will talk about the process of this later in this video.
Now the framers knew the process on how to change the Constitution. But they also knew that a small change can have a large effect on all Americans. So the process couldn?t be easy!
As you see on screen, thousand amendments have been proposed but only 27 have been ratified and added to the constitution.
We have 2 ways to propose amendments to the constitution. Let?s take a few minutes and go over each one.
The first method that has been used 27 times is that ? of both houses of the Congress, that is the Senate and the House of Representatives, approve the proposal. That require a vote from 357/535 members of Congress.
The second method, that hasn?t been used yet, anyway, is that ? of the state legislatures submit an application to Congress. Congress then calls a convention where states can propose amendments. This require 33/50 legislatures to submit the application.
Now once the amendments are proposed doesn?t mean is can be part of the constitution. And there are 2 ways that it can. These are called ratification methods.
First is that ¾ or 38/50 of the state legislatures vote to ratify the proposed amendments.
The second form of ratification is to hold a convention in every state. And if ¾ or 38/50 of this conventions vote to ratify the proposed amendments, that becomes part of our constitution.
So let?s summarize what we have learned about the amendment process.
For the Proposal of the amendment, we need 2/3rds of both House and Senate to approve it or a Constitutional convention called by 2/3rds of the States.
To Ratify or approve the amendments, we need ¾ of the state legislatures to vote to ratify or ¾ of the states to vote to ratify it through a state ratifying convention.
Once that is done, the amendment becomes part of the constitution.
Let?s check in. Try to answer the following questions in your own words.
Why did the framers of the constitution want to make it difficult to change it?
They want it difficult to change because even a small change to the constitution can impact all Americans significantly.
Based on what you have learned, what amendment proposal method has been the most successful?
The most successful proposal method has been through a 2/3rd vote of Congress (that is both the House and Senate). This happened successfully 27 times.
Let?s Recap what we have learned.
Article V of the Constitution describes the amendment process. And there are 2 ways to propose an Amendment. There?s the 2/3rd vote of Congress (both House and Senate) that requires 357/535 members. Or a Constitutional Convention called by 2/3rds of states (33/50 states)
Ratifying an Amendment requires ¾ (38/50) of state legislatures to vote to ratify. Or ¾ (38/50) of states vote to ratify at a state ratifying convention.
Thousands of amendments have been proposed but only 27 have been ratified.
And it?s difficult to change a Constitution because it can have a large effect on all Americans across the country.
George Washington once said, ?I do not conceive that we are more inspired-have more wisdom-or possess more virtue than those who will come after us. The power under the Constitution will always be the people.?
The framers wanted to make sure that the American people was a whole would support any change to the Constitution.
This is why we have a formal process and why it is so hard to pass on an amendment.
Because they really do need so many support for something that could affect so many people.
Amendment process has made huge changes to our rights, liberties, and political system. Sometimes they expand rights. Like the Bill of Rights, our first ten amendments. Or our 19th Amendment which gives women the right to vote. Or the 14th amendment which issues due process for any citizen under the law. The 21st Amendment which give prohibition and all people to buy alcohol again. Or the 24th Amendment which allowed the Poll tax in US elections.
Sometimes, Amendment to our constitution restrict our liberties. Like the 18th Amendment which banned the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcohol.
And sometimes, amendment to our constitution change our system completely. For example, the 12th amendment changed how we vote for President and Vice President. The 16th Amendment carried an income tax. The 22nd Amendment made the President can only serve 2 elected terms.
So why do we have a formal amendment process?
Well, as you can see in the words of Washington, ?the power under the Constitution will always be with the people.?
The Framers wanted to make sure that if the people wanted to change the constitution, it could change when they needed it to.
You can learn more about how Amendments and Amendment process have impacted our rights, liberties, and political system in these topic areas on Civics360.
Be sure to check them out!