How to Amend the U.S. Constitution

In the United States, there is a specific procedure for making changes to its founding legal document, the Constitution.

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You Will Need

  • An amendment
  • Two-thirds approval in both the U.S. House and Senate
  • 3/4 of all 50 states in agreement

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Get elected

    Get elected to Congress or to a state legislature. The U.S. Congress or the state legislatures must vote in order to propose a constitutional amendment.

  2. Your best bet is Congress. Even though the state legislature option is articulated in Article V of the Constitution, it has never been used.

  3. Step 2

    Get through committee

    Get the amendment through committee, otherwise known as the behind-the-scenes legislative wrangling that occurs before an amendment is ever presented to the full Congress.

  4. Step 3

    Win a two-thirds majority

    Win a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in favor of your amendment.

  5. Step 4

    Send it to the Archivist

    From Congress, the amendment is sent to the National Archivist who, with help from the Federal Register, will print and send a copy of the legislation to all 50 governors. They, in turn, pass them on to the state legislatures for a vote.

  6. Step 5

    Win a three-quarters majority

    Win approval from three-quarters of the states, and you have successfully amended the U.S. Constitution.

  7. The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale or manufacture of alcohol. Fourteen years later, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.

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