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Amendment XII

Amendment XII


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The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Passed December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.


See Table of Amendments. See also Constitution (text) or Constitution (narrative).


  1. The amendment to the U.S Constitution concerned with electing the President and Vice President of the United States.

The 12th Amendment is the section of the Constitution that deals with the elections of both the President and the Vice President of the United States. It also directs the Electoral College on the voting procedure. Prior to 1800, the rules were different.

Electoral College voters could cast their votes, but they didn’t have to specify who they were voting for. This caused immediate chaos, and so the 12th Amendment received an update in 1804 to better clarify how Electoral College voters should cast their ballots going forward.

History of the 12th Amendment

The history of the 12th Amendment begins with the creation of the Electoral College in 1787. The Framers of the Constitution did this as a way to eliminate the divisiveness of partisanship. In other words, instead of relying on political parties to choose the next President and Vice President, the Framers believed the Electoral College, as a collection of the country’s “best men,” would make the decision free from political influence. This is actually why there is no mention of politics or political parties in the Constitution, and why there probably never will be.

The early history of the 12th Amendment declared that the Electoral College should function thusly:

  • Each elector would vote for any two candidates, with one candidate not being from the elector’s home state.
  • The electors did not have to state whether their votes were for the President or Vice President, only that they voted for the individual they felt was most qualified for each role.
  • The candidate who received over 50 percent of the total votes would become President. The runner-up would become his Vice President.
  • If no candidate received over 50 percent of the votes, the House of Representatives would decide the President.
  • If there was a tie among those in second place, the Senate would decide the Vice President.

This was a broken system from the start. While the Electoral College unanimously voted for George Washington in 1788 and 1792, and John Adams as his Vice President, things got decidedly murkier during the election of 1800.


Twelfth Amendment

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Twelfth Amendment, amendment (1804) to the Constitution of the United States repealing and revising presidential election procedures.

The catalyst for the Twelfth Amendment was the U.S. presidential election of 1800. Under the original text of the Constitution, political participation was at first reserved for the American elite. Only landowning white males could run for office and vote, and the voting privilege itself was restricted in presidential elections to elite slates of electors who would effectively choose the country’s president and vice president. The Framers had viewed political parties with suspicion, but by the 1790s party politics had taken root—and with it the interests of party organizations began to exert influence. In 1796 the Federalist Party supported John Adams for president, but it split its vote such that the Democratic-Republican candidate, Thomas Jefferson, earned the second greatest number of votes, thereby securing the post of vice president. To forestall this situation from occurring again, the parties sought to ensure that all its electors were united. In 1800 this produced an electoral college tie between Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican candidate for president, and Aaron Burr, the party’s vice presidential candidate. Under the rules, the electors voted for two candidates without specifying who should hold which office. The election ultimately went to the House of Representatives, which elected Jefferson.

These elections revealed both a growing influence of political parties and a serious deficiency in the presidential election process. The effect of the Twelfth Amendment was to require separate votes for presidential and vice presidential candidates. Should an election result in a tie, the House of Representatives would chose for whom to cast votes, on the basis of a one-vote-per-state formulation, from among the top three electoral vote recipients. The Twelfth Amendment came into effect with the 1804 election.

The full text of the amendment is:

The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate—The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted—The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.

* The part included in brackets has been superseded by Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment.


Amendment XII - History

The Missing 13th Amendment
"TITLES OF NOBILITY" AND "HONOR"

In the winter of 1983, archival research expert David Dodge, and former Baltimore police investigator Tom Dunn, were searching for evidence of government corruption in public records stored in the Belfast Library on the coast of Maine. By chance, they discovered the library's oldest authentic copy of the Constitution of the United States (printed in 1825). Both men were stunned to see this document included a 13th Amendment that no longer appears on current copies of the Constitution. Moreover, after studying the Amendment's language and historical context, they realized the principle intent of this "missing" 13th Amendment was to prohibit lawyers from serving in government.

So began a seven-year, nationwide search for the truth surrounding the most bizarre Constitutional puzzle in American history -- the unlawful removal of a ratified Amendment from the Constitution of the United States. Since 1983, Dodge and Dunn have uncovered additional copies of the Constitution with the "missing" 13th Amendment printed in at least eighteen separate publications by ten different states and territories over four decades from 1822 to 1860.

In June of this year, Dodge uncovered the evidence that this missing 13th Amendment had indeed been lawfully ratified by the state of Virginia and was therefore an authentic Amendment to the American Constitution. If the evidence is correct and no logical errors have been made, a 13th Amendment restricting lawyers from serving in government was ratified in 1819 and removed from our Constitution during the tumult of the Civil War.

The following was found at: http://www.barefootsworld.net/consti12.html
Click on the above link, find this part on that web page.
It has a lot of good footnotes, links, pictures, and references that are not shown here.

The Original Thirteenth Amendment
Ratified
March 12, 1819

The Founders held an intense disdain and distrust of "Nobility" as a result of a long history, during Colonial times, of abuses and excesses against the Rights of Man and the established Common Law and Constitutions by the "Nobility", and therefore placed in the new Constitution two injunctions against acceptance of Titles of Nobility or Honor or emoluments from external sources. The Revolutionary War for Independence was primarily waged to eliminate these abuses and excesses of the "Nobility" and the " Monied Classes" from the life of the Nation, recognizing the Equality of all men.

As noted in the discussion in Article 1 of the Constitution, the original Thirteenth Amendment, was ratified in 1819, adding a heavy penalty upon any person holding or accepting a Title of Nobility or Honor, or emoluments from external powers by making that person "cease to be a citizen of the United States" and "incapable of holding any Office of Trust or Profit under the United States". This Amendment was proposed, properly ratified, and was a matter of record in the several States archives until 1876, by which time it was quietly, and fraudulently deleted, never repealed, during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War and the presently acknowledged Thirteenth Amendment was substituted. The original records of the original 13th amendment were thought to be destroyed at the time of the burning of the capitol during the War of 1812, but have since been found in the archives of the British Museum , the national archives and in the archives of several of the States and territories. The fact of its existence had been lost to memory until, by chance, researchers discovered in the public library at Belfast , Maine an 1825 copy of the U. S. Constitution. Subsequent research shows that it was in the records of the ratifying states and territories until 1876, the last to drop it from record was the Territory of Wyoming after 1876. The most intriguing discovery was the 1867 Colorado Territory edition which includes both the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment and the current 13th Amendment, on the same page. The current 13 th Amendment is listed as the 14th Amendment in the 1867 Colorado edition.

The 1876 Laws of Wyoming which similarly show the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment, the current 13th Amendment (freeing the slaves), and the current 15th Amendment on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th, the current 14th amendment is omitted, and the current 15th Amendment is in proper place.

For further discussion and the history of the Original Thirteenth Amendment see "Demon of Discord, Ratification and Suppression of the Original Thirteenth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ."

On December 3, 1860 , the month after Lincoln was elected, President Buchanan asked Congress to propose an "explanatory amendment". It was to be another 13th Amendment, to eradicate and cover-up the deletion of the Original Thirteenth Title of Nobility and Honour Amendment. This proposed amendment, which would have forever legalized slavery, was signed by President Buchanan the day before Lincoln took office.

This amendment to the Constitution relating to slavery was sent to the states for ratification by the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Congress on March 2, 1861 , when it passed the Senate, having previously passed the House on February 28, 1861 . It is interesting to note in this connection that this and the ratified Anti-Slavery amendment of 1865 are the only resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution to have been signed by the President. The President's signature is considered unnecessary because of the constitutional provision that on the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress the proposal shall be submitted to the States for ratification.

The resolve to amend signed by President Buchanan on March 2, 1861 , two days before Lincoln 's inauguration, read:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz :

"ARTICLE THIRTEEN, No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."

In other words, President Buchanan had signed a resolve that would have forever permitted slavery, and upheld states' rights. Only one State, Illinois , Lincoln 's home state, had ratified this proposed amendment before the Civil War broke out in 1861. It appears at 12 Stat. 251, 36th Congress. Two more State legislatures ratified it, beginning with Ohio on May 13, 1861 , followed by Maryland on January 10, 1862 .

But the onslaught of the Civil War taught that the Nation may be in even greater peril from the States than they ever were from the Nation. And so, after more than seventy years of national life, the people, by the presently acknowledged 13th Amendment and the two following, laid upon the States restrictions which a few years before would have been impossible. The Constitution had gone forty-six years (1819 - 1865) without an Amendment.

In the tumult of 1865, the original Thirteenth Amendment was removed from our Constitution. In a Congressional Resolve to amend dated December 5, 1864 , approved and signed by President Lincoln, February 1, 1865 , another Amendment numbered XIII (which prohibited slavery in Sect. 1, and ended states' rights in Sect. 2) was proposed. When, on January 13, 1865 , a two-thirds vote was taken in the House of Representatives for proposing the currently presented 13th Amendment "in honor of the immortal and sublime event" the House adjourned. It was then presented to the States for ratification. Two months later, April 9, 1865 , the Civil War ended with General Lee's surrender. On April 14, President Lincoln was assassinated, dying on April 15th.

On December 18, 1865, the "new" 13th Amendment loudly prohibiting and abolishing slavery (and quietly surrendering states rights to the federal government) was proclaimed adopted by Secretary of State Seward, replacing and effectively erasing the original Thirteenth Amendment that had prohibited acceptance of "titles of nobility" and "honors" and "emoluments", and dishonest politicians have been bought and bribed and have treasonously accepted graft from external sources ever since, with no thought of penalty.


Politics Exposes Electoral College Problems

During his second term as Washington’s vice president, John Adams had associated himself with the Federalist Party, the nation’s first political party. When he was elected president in 1796, Adams did so as a Federalist. However, Adams’ bitter ideological adversary, Thomas Jefferson—an avowed Anti-Federalist and member of the Democratic-Republican Party, having gotten the second-most electoral votes, was elected vice president under the Electoral College system.

As the turn of the century approached, America’s budding love affair with political parties would soon expose the weaknesses of the original Electoral College system.


ELECTION OF PRESIDENT

This Amendment,1 which supersedes Article II, § 1, clause 3, was adopted so as to make impossible the situation that occurred after the election of 1800 in which Jefferson and Burr received tie votes in the electoral college, thus throwing the selection of a President into the House of Representatives, despite the fact that the electors had intended Jefferson to be President and Burr to be Vice President.2 The difference between the procedure that the Amendment defines and the original is in its providing for a separate designation by the electors of their choices for President and Vice President, respectively. As a consequence of the disputed election of 1870, Congress enacted a statute providing that if the vote of a state is not certified by the governor under seal, it shall not be counted unless both Houses of Congress concur.3

Footnotes

1 A number of provisions of the Amendment have been superseded by the Twentieth Amendment. 2 Cunningham, Election of 1800, in 1 H ISTORY OF AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 101 (A. Schlesinger ed., 1971). 3 3 U.S.C. § 15.

THE FIVE FAILED AMENDMENTS

In addition, there were six Constitutional amendments that were passed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress but were never ratified by three-fourths of the states, as required in Article Five of the Constitution. One is still being argued in courts.

Passed by Congress: Sept. 25, 1789

This amendment, proposed as one of 12 original “Bill of Rights” amendments, would have regulated the size of congressional districts to ensure apportionment of representatives. It never passed, although there was another failed “Bill of Rights” amendment that was finally ratified in 1992 – 202 years and 223 days after Congress sent it to the states.

Passed by Congress: March 4, 1794
Ratified by states: Feb. 7, 1795

What the amendment did: Made states immune from lawsuits from citizens of other states and from foreigners and set up the foundation for state sovereign immunity.

Passed by Congress: Dec. 9, 1803
Ratified by states: June 15, 1804

What the amendment did: Changed how elections worked: Previously, the vice president was the No. 2 vote-getter. After this, presidents and vice presidents were elected together on a “ticket.”

TITLES OF NOBILITY AMENDMENT

Passed by Congress: May 1, 1810

This amendment would require any U.S. citizen who accepts a title of nobility from another country to be stripped of his or her U.S. citizenship.

Passed by Congress: March 2, 1861

This amendment would make state’s “domestic institutions” – especially slavery – immune to abolition or other interference from Congress.

Passed by Congress: Jan. 31, 1865
Ratified by states: Dec. 6, 1865

What the amendment did: Abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.

Passed by Congress: June 13, 1866
Ratified by states: July 9, 1868

What the amendment did: Granted citizenship to former slaves and guaranteed a citizen’s “privileges or immunities,” due process of law and equal protection of laws.

Passed by Congress: Feb. 26, 1869
Ratified by states: Feb. 3, 1870

What the amendment did: Guaranteed to all men the right to vote, regardless of race, color or whether or not one had previously been a slave.

Passed by Congress: July 12, 1909
Ratified by states: Feb. 3, 1913

What the amendment did: Allows Congress to levy an income tax without having to apportion it among the states or basing it on the Census.

Passed by Congress: May 13, 1912
Ratified by states: April 8, 1913

What the amendment did: Ensures U.S. senators are elected by direct popular vote.

Passed by Congress: Dec. 18, 1917
Ratified by states: Jan. 16, 1919

What the amendment did: Prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcohol in the U.S. “Prohibition” would be repealed with the 21st Amendment in 1933.

Passed by Congress: June 4, 1919
Ratified by states: Aug. 18, 1920

What the amendment did: Guaranteed to women the right to vote.

Passed by Congress: June 2, 1924

This amendment would have permitted the federal government to limit, regulate or prohibit child labor.

Passed by Congress: March 2, 1932
Ratified by states: Jan. 23, 1933

What the amendment did: Changed the date on which national elected officials began their terms of office. Instead of March 4, Presidential inaugurations would take place on Jan. 20.

Passed by Congress: Feb. 20, 1933
Ratified by states: Dec. 5, 1933

What the amendment did: Repealed the 18th amendment that banned the manufacture or sale of alcohol.

Passed by Congress: March 24, 1947
Ratified by states: Feb. 27, 1951

What the amendment did: Established a two-term limit for president. A person who completed someone else’s presidential term of more than two years can be elected only once.

Passed by Congress: June 16, 1960
Ratified by states: March 29, 1961

What the amendment did: Guaranteed the District of Columbia electors in the Electoral College.

Passed by Congress: Sept. 14, 1962
Ratified by states: Jan. 23, 1964

What the amendment did: Guaranteed no one could be denied the right to vote based on non-payment of a poll tax or any other type of tax.

Passed by Congress: July 6, 1965
Ratified by states: Feb. 10, 1967

What the amendment did: Established an order of succession to the presidency, procedures for filling a vice presidential vacancy and responding to a presidential disability.

Passed by Congress: March 23, 1971
Ratified by states: July 1, 1971

What the amendment did: Lowered the voting age to 18 years old.

Passed by Congress: March 22, 1972

This amendment would have prohibited denial of any rights by federal or state governments on the basis of sex. Congress originally set a deadline of March 22, 1979 to pass this amendment and then extended that to June 30, 1982. It did not pass. After that, three more states passed the ERA, which would have made it law – if the ratification deadline hadn’t expired. This is still being argued in courts.

D.C. VOTING RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Passed by Congress: Aug. 22, 1978

This amendment would have given the District of Columbia full rights as a state, with members of Congress and other rights. Congress set a ratification deadline of Aug. 22, 1985 – which wasn’t met.

Passed by Congress: Sept. 25, 1789
Ratified by states: May 5, 1992

What the amendment did: Said that if Congress votes itself a pay increase, that increase won’t take effect until after the next election. This had been one of the original 12 amendments, back in 1789.


14th Amendment – Section Three

Section Three of the amendment, gave Congress the authority to bar public officials, who took an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, from holding office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the Constitution. The intent was to prevent the president from allowing former leaders of the Confederacy to regain power within the U.S. government after securing a presidential pardon. It states that a two-thirds majority vote in Congress is required to allow public officials who had engaged in rebellion to regain the rights of American citizenship and hold government or military office.

It states that: "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."


Amendment XII - History

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted--The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President--The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by Congress on 9 Dec. 1803, when it passed the House, having previously passed the Senate on 2 Dec. (Annals 13:209, 775--76). It was not signed by the presiding officers of the House and Senate until 12 Dec. It appears officially in 2 Stat. 306. Ratification was probably completed on 15 June 1804, when the legislature of the thirteenth State (New Hampshire) approved the amendment, there being then seventeen States in the Union. The Governor of New Hampshire, however, vetoed this act of the legislature on 20 June, and the act failed to pass again by two-thirds vote then required by the State constitution. Inasmuch as Article 5 of the Federal Constitution specifies that amendments shall become effective "when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by conventions in three-fourths thereof," it has been generally believed that an approval or veto by a governor is without significance. If the ratification by New Hampshire be deemed ineffective, then the amendment became operative by Tennessee's ratification on 27 July 1804. On 25 Sept. 1804, in a circular letter to the Governors of the several States, Secretary of State Madison declared the amendment ratified by three-fourths of the States.

The several State legislatures ratified the Twelfth Amendment on the following dates: North Carolina, 22 Dec. 1803 Maryland, 24 Dec. 1803 Kentucky, 27 Dec. 1803 Ohio, between 5 Dec. and 30 Dec. 1803 Virginia, between 20 Dec. 1803 and 3 Feb. 1804 Pennsylvania, 5 Jan. 1804 Vermont, 30 Jan. 1804 New York, 10 Feb. 1804 New Jersey, 22 Feb. 1804 Rhode Island, between 27 Feb. and 12 Mar. 1804 South Carolina, 15 May 1804 Georgia, 19 May 1804 New Hampshire, 15 June 1804 and Tennessee, 27 July 1804. The amendment was rejected by Delaware on 18 Jan. 1804, and by Connecticut at its session begun 10 May 1804. Massachusetts ratified this amendment in 1961.


Amendment

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Amendment, in government and law, an addition or alteration made to a constitution, statute, or legislative bill or resolution. Amendments can be made to existing constitutions and statutes and are also commonly made to bills in the course of their passage through a legislature. Since amendments to a national constitution can fundamentally change a country’s political system or governing institutions, such amendments are usually submitted to an exactly prescribed procedure.

The best-known amendments are those that have been made to the U.S. Constitution Article V makes provision for the amendment of that document. The first 10 amendments that were made to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. (See Rights, Bill of.) A total of 27 amendments have been made to the Constitution. For an amendment to be made, two-thirds of the members of each house of Congress must approve it, and three-fourths of the states must ratify it. Congress decides whether the ratification will be by state legislatures or by popularly elected conventions in the several states (though in only one instance, that of the Twenty-First Amendment, which repealed prohibition, was the convention system used). In many U.S. states, proposed amendments to a state constitution must be approved by the voters in a popular referendum.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


Amendment XII - History

All Amendments to the United States Constitution

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and 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.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

AMENDMENT XI - Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

AMENDMENT XII - Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.

AMENDMENT XIII - Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XIV - Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

AMENDMENT XV - Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

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 the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XVI - Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

AMENDMENT XVII - Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

AMENDMENT XVIII - Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.

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 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.

AMENDMENT XIX - Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

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 sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XX - Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.

Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

AMENDMENT XXI - Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

AMENDMENT XXII - Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

AMENDMENT XXIII - Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XXIV - Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XXV - Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.

Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

AMENDMENT XXVI - Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.

Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

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 power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

AMENDMENT XXVII - Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.


Watch the video: Electoral Chaos u0026 the Twelfth Amendment No. 86 (May 2022).


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