Slavery has finally been outlawed in Mississippi. Let the party begin. Only 148 years after most of the rest of the country. The Constitution is hard to amend. We don’t want our basic rules to be changed willy-nilly and we also do not want them to be very narrow in focus. So it would make sense that few amendments have been proposed and fewer have been passed.
So here is a little quiz concerning amendments that are in the constitution, some that haven’t made it and a couple of questions about the process. Here we go:
1) Amendments can originate in two ways. One is to be proposed in Congress. The other is:
a) by a vote of 2/3rds of the state legislatures.
b) by favorable votes in 2/3rds of state conventions
c) by favorable votes of 2/3rds of state governors
d) by a national convention called by congress on request by 2/3rds of the states
2) Ratification of a proposed amendment takes place by
a) approval of 2/3rds of state legislatures
b) approval of half of state legislatures
c) approval of 3/4ths of state legislatures
d) approval of 4/5ths of state legislatures
3) Another method of ratification is
a) by 3/4ths of state conventions called by the legislatures
b) by 2/3rds of state governors
c) by a 2/3rds vote of the amendment college as selected by various state legislatures
d) by conventions in each state called by the 2 major parties
4) The first ten amendments to the Constitution are collectively known as
a) The bill of attainder
b) the clarifying amendments
c) the bill of rights
d) the articles of confederation
5) The original proposed first amendment did not deal with speech or press, but with
a) limiting the power of corporations
b) limiting the number of people a representative could represent
c) limiting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
d) ending slavery
6) The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are known collectively as (the)
a) reconstruction amendments
b) Lincoln’s amendments
c) anti-slavery amendments
d) northern amendments
7) Is a presidential signature needed for an amendment to become effective?
8) Only one amendment has been negated by another amendment. Can you name the two amendments in question?
a) the 8th and the 15th
b) the 10th and the 14th
c) the 9th and the 28th
d) the 18th and the 21st
9) How long can a proposed amendment exist in a proposed state before it must be ratified or not?
a) 10 years
b) A century
c) Congress may place a time limit on an individual amendment; else there is no limit
d) there is no limit
10) A curiosity among proposed amendments, the Corwin amendment, preserved what institution?
a) white men only voting
c) African-Americans as 3/5ths of a person
d) state nullification
In case you missed it last week, Mississippi took the final step of ratification and told someone that they had actually ratified the 13th amendment back in 1995. If you take away the first 10 amendments, the constitution has been amended 17 times or about once every 13 years. That seems about right.
The one I find curious is that the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified. And there is one on the horizon to negate the Citizen’s United ruling. If officially proposed, ratification could be quite interesting.
Answers? Ratify something first! er—- sure
1) d) by congress or by national convention which has never been used
2) c) 3/4ths of the states or 38 states
3) a) again the number 3/4ths
4) c) the bill of rights
5) b) actually the current 1st amendment was proposed #3. the current 27th amendment was originally #2
6) a) reconstruction amendments
7) b) no
8) d) the 21st ending alcohol prohibition negated the 18th which created prohibition
9) c) there are 6 non-ratified proposed amendments. 2 have limited dates and are considered dead. The 27th amendment took 74,003 days between proposal and ratification.
10) b) preserved slavery. Proposed in 1861 and still in a proposed state this amendment tried to stop the march to war. The amendment was even signed by Abraham Lincoln and ratified by Ohio, Maryland and Illinois. Then war broke out.
The Equal rights amendment still needs ratification by 3 states. But it had a time limit so it is questionable whether it can still be ratified. Also one state (Tennessee, I believe) rescinded their ratification. Another constitutional question