POL1 Research Papaer - US Constitutional Reform Proposal Why the US Should Amend the Constitution to Reform the Article V Amendment Process By Caitlin

POL1 Research Papaer - US Constitutional Reform Proposal...

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US Constitutional Reform Proposal: Why the US Should Amend the Constitution to Reform the Article V Amendment Process By: Caitlin FitzGerald Under the Articles of Confederation, in order to amend the Constitution every state needed to ratify an amendment. This made it impossible to make any changes and was one of the major reasons the Philadelphia Convention was called in 1787 to draft a new Constitution (Levinson, 1). The issue of the Amendment Process was contentious from day one and was put off until the final days of the convention. Compromises needed to be made to appease those who wanted a more centralized government and those who wanted greater state power, as well as between larger and smaller states (Levinson, 3). What the convention came up with was Article V, a procedure involving two paths to amend, the first by a 2/3 vote in each house of Congress, and the second through 2/3 of the states petitioning Congress to call for a Constitutional Convention. This was intended to limit Congress’ power (Levinson, 5). To implement the amendment Congress would require either 3/4 of the states legislatures or 3/4 of state conventions to ratify. At the time, few actually endorsed the Article strongly, it was seen as an improvement rather than an ideal. In fact many such as Patrick Henry foreshadowed its failure, stating, “the way to amendment has been shut” (Levinson, 4). In examining the legacy of Article V it is clear that the amendment process is too strict, and ultimately broken, because one of the avenues to amend the constitution is ineffective. Despite Americans’ resistance to Constitutional reform and the fact that Article V would indeed be difficult to change, reform is necessary. I propose a plan that will return power to the people while still maintaining Congressional involvement so that we as a nation can make the changes that our country needs.
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Today, Americans often express strong admiration towards our Constitution because it has gotten us so far with such little change. They use this as evidence of its genius and timelessness, however this is a myth. In reality, our Constitution has just been reinterpreted to fit the times because changing it isn’t really an option (Lynch, 825). Our Constitution has 27 amendments, the first 10 of which were passed with the ratification of the US Constitution. Only 17 additional amendments have passed since the founding of our nation under the US Constitution and these amendments can be broken up into a few categories. Several amendments such as the 13 th Amendment allowing the government to collect income tax, serve to expand the government’s power. Others have improved the operation of the government, limited states power, and in some cases have even served to enhance Congress’ power, such as the 22 nd amendment limiting presidential terms (Rappaport, 8). Congress passed the 11th and 17th amendments only when the states were on the verge of attempting to call a Constitutional Convention, and the 14 th Amendment was only successfully ratified
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  • Fall '12
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  • Constitutional Convention

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