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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.

Instructions

  • 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.
  • TIP: Your best bet is Congress. Even though the state legislature option is articulated in Article V of the Constitution, it has never been used.
  • 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.
  • Step 3: Win a two-thirds majority Win a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in favor of your amendment.
  • 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.
  • Step 5: Win a three-quarters majority Win approval from three-quarters of the states, and you have successfully amended the U.S. Constitution.
  • FACT: The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale or manufacture of alcohol. Fourteen years later, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.

You Will Need

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

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