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Constitution Day 2015: Constitutional Amendments: Amendments

Constitution Day is September 17

Ratifying the Constitution

On September 17, 1787, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. This began the process of ratification. Nine states' ratifications were required.

Delaware ratified the Constitution on December 7, 1787 -- the first state to do so.

On June 21, 1788, the required nine states (New Hampshire was the last) had ratified the Constitution and the Constitution became binding. By the summer of 1788, New York had ratified making a total of ten states.

The ratification debates in the state legislatures expressed a desire for a declaration of individual liberties to amend the Constitution.

Language and Metaphors

Government Publications about Ratification of Amendments

What Does it Take to Amend the Constitution?

Article V of the Constitution describes the process for amending the Constitution:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

The First of the Amendments

The ratification debates in the state legislatures showed a need for a declaration of individual liberties to amend the Constitution.

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress sent twelve amendments to the President to be sent to the states for ratification.

Ten of these were ratified by December 15, 1791. These ten are the Bill of Rights.

Amendments 11-27

Delaware Ratifies

Note: there are discrepancies regarding Delaware's actions in some sources.

Example: did Delaware ratify the 16th Amendment or take no action?

Delaware ratified on Feb. 3, 1913

The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (CONAN)

Delaware listed as taking no action

The Constitution of the United States of America as Amended