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Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been proposed by the United States Congress and sent to the states for ratification since the Constitution was put into operation on March 4, 1789. Twenty-seven of these, having been ratified by the requisite number of states, are part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states. Four of these amendments are still pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, and one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. All 33 amendments are listed and detailed in the tables below.

Article Five of the United States Constitution details the two-step process for amending the nation's frame of government. Amendments must be properly proposed and ratified before becoming operative. This process was designed to strike a balance between the excesses of constant change and inflexibility.[1]

An amendment may be proposed and sent to the states for ratification by either:

To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38 since 1959) by either (as determined by Congress):

The only amendment to be ratified through the state convention method thus far is the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. That amendment is also the only one that explicitly repeals an earlier one, the Eighteenth Amendment (ratified in 1919).[5]

When a constitutional amendment is sent to the states for ratification, the Archivist of the United States is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. § 106b.[6] Then, upon being properly ratified, the archivist issues a certificate proclaiming that an amendment has become an operative part of the Constitution.[3]

Beginning in the early 20th century, Congress has usually, but not always, stipulated that an amendment must be ratified by the required number of states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states in order to become part of the Constitution. Congress's authority to set a ratification deadline was affirmed in 1939 by the United States Supreme Court in Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433).[4]

Approximately 11,770 proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress since 1789 (as of January 3, 2019).[4][7] Collectively, members of the House and Senate typically propose around 200 amendments during each two-year term of Congress.[8] Proposals have covered numerous topics, but none made in recent decades have become part of the Constitution. Historically, most died in the congressional committees to which they were assigned. Since 1999, only about 20 proposed amendments have received a vote by either the full House or Senate. The last time a proposal gained the necessary two-thirds support in both the House and the Senate for submission to the states was the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment in 1978. Only 16 states had ratified it when the seven-year time limit expired.[9]

Ratified amendments

Synopsis of each ratified amendment

For full text of amendments to the United States Constitution, see Additional amendments to the United States Constitution on Wikisource

No. Subject Ratification[10][11]
Proposed Completed Time span
1st[12] Protects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition the government. September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
2nd[13] Protects the right to keep and bear arms September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
3rd[14] Restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
4th[15] Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
5th[16] Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
6th[17] Protects the right to a speedy public trial by jury, to notification of criminal accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnesses and to retain counsel September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
7th[18] Provides for the right to a jury trial in civil lawsuits September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
8th[19] Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
9th[20] States that rights not enumerated in the Constitution are retained by the people September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
10th[21] States that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated, or enumerated, to it through the Constitution September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
11th Makes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders; lays the foundation for state sovereign immunity March 4, 1794 February 7, 1795 340 days
12th Revises presidential election procedures by having the president and vice president elected together as opposed to the vice president being the runner up in the presidential election December 9, 1803 June 15, 1804 189 days
13th Abolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime January 31, 1865 December 6, 1865 309 days
14th Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post–Civil War issues June 13, 1866 July 9, 1868 2 years, 26 days
15th Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude February 26, 1869 February 3, 1870 342 days
16th Permits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the various states or basing it on the United States Census July 12, 1909 February 3, 1913 3 years, 206 days
17th Establishes the direct election of United States senators by popular vote May 13, 1912 April 8, 1913 330 days
18th Prohibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol within the United States
(Repealed December 5, 1933, via the 21st Amendment)
December 18, 1917 January 16, 1919 1 year, 29 days
19th Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex June 4, 1919 August 18, 1920 1 year, 75 days
20th Changes the date on which the terms of the president and vice president and of members of Congress end and begin (to January 20 and January 3 respectively). States that if the president-elect becomes vacant, the vice president–elect is inaugurated as president in their place. March 2, 1932 January 23, 1933 327 days
21st[22] Repeals the 18th Amendment and makes it a federal offense to transport or import intoxicating liquors into U.S. states and territories where such is prohibited by law February 20, 1933 December 5, 1933 288 days
22nd[23] Limits the number of times a person can be elected President. March 21, 1947 February 27, 1951 3 years, 343 days
23rd[24] Grants the District of Columbia electors in the Electoral College June 16, 1960 March 29, 1961 286 days
24th Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of a poll tax or any other tax September 14, 1962 January 23, 1964 1 year, 131 days
25th Addresses succession to the presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the vice president and responding to presidential disabilities July 6, 1965 Article Five of the United States Constitution details the two-step process for amending the nation's frame of government. Amendments must be properly proposed and ratified before becoming operative. This process was designed to strike a balance between the excesses of constant change and inflexibility.[1]

An amendment may be proposed and sent to the states for ratification by either:

To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38 since 1959) by either (as determined by Congress):

The only amendment to be ratified through the state convention method thus far is the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. That amendment is also the only one that explicitly repeals an earlier one, the Eighteenth Amendment (ratified in 1919).[5]

When a constitutional amendment is sent to the states for ratification, the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. That amendment is also the only one that explicitly repeals an earlier one, the Eighteenth Amendment (ratified in 1919).[5]

When a constitutional amendment is sent to the states for ratification, the Archivist of the United States is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. When a constitutional amendment is sent to the states for ratification, the Archivist of the United States is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. § 106b.[6] Then, upon being properly ratified, the archivist issues a certificate proclaiming that an amendment has become an operative part of the Constitution.[3]

Beginning in the early 20th century, Congress has usually, but not always, stipulated that an amendment must be ratified by the required number of states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states in order to become part of the Constitution. Congress's authority to set a ratification deadline was affirmed in 1939 by the United States Supreme Court in Coleman v. Miller (307 U.S. 433).[4]

Approximately 11,770 proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress since 1789 (as of January 3, 2019).[4][7] Collectively, members of the House and Senate typically propose around 200 amendments during each two-year term of Congress.[8] Proposals have covered numerous topics, but none made in recent decades have become part of the Constitution. Historically, most died in the congressional committees to which they were assigned. Since 1999, only about 20 proposed amendments have received a vote by either the full House or Senate. The last time a proposal gained the necessary two-thirds support in both the House and the Senate for submission to the states was the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment in 1978. Only 16 states had ratified it when the seven-year time limit expired.[9]

For full text of amendments to the United States Constitution, see Additional amendments to the United States Constitution on Wikisource

No. Subject Ratification[10][11]
Proposed Completed Time span
1st[12] Protects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition the government. September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
2nd[13] Protects the right to keep and bear arms September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days
3rd[14] Restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791 2 years, 81 days