Skip to main content

Constitution Day 2015: Constitutional Amendments: Little Known Facts

Constitution Day is September 17

Amendments

You Probably Don't Know

Only the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th articles of amendment had numbers assigned to them at the time of ratification.


When the first Federal Congress met in New York in March 1789, there were eleven states in the new union. Rhode Island and North Carolina were not part of United States at that time.


The first Federal Congress met in New York, but New York Senators were not in attendance. The New York state legislature had failed to elect any senators. 


The House of Representatives approved the 26th Amendment (voting age lowered to 18) on March 23, 1971 and the amendment was sent to the states.

Five states approved it that same day: Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Washington.


The 27th Amendment (Congressional pay raises) took nearly two hundred years from proposal to ratification. It was the second of twelve articles proposed by the First Congress, Sept. 25, 1789 but was not ratified until 1992. Delaware ratified it January 28, 1790. These states ratified it between 1789 and 1791: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

Beginning with the proposal of the18th Amendment (Prohibition) in 1917, Congress has required ratification to be seven years from the time of the submission to the States.


The President does not have to approve or sign an amendment.

The President's role is to send the amendments to the state legislatures.


Governors do not sign or approve the actions of the state legislatures on amendments.


The word "democracy" does not appear in the Constitution nor in the 27 Amendments.


Approximately 11,623 articles of amendment have been introduced in Congress (1789-2014), but only 33 have been submitted to the states for ratification.