Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology
What Holds a House Together?
Do you know what holds a house together? A house must be built on a strong foundation, usually made of concrete. This is so that it will not fall with any wind or rain. What would happen if someone came in and started chipping away at a house's foundation? Well, the foundation would begin to crack, right? The house would fall apart with it!
United States Constitution
The United States Constitution is the document that tells us how the government is to be setup and run. So think of the United States Constitution as the foundation of America! Think of America as the house. Now, imagine if someone changed our Constitution. What would happen to America? It would change a lot, and may even fall apart! Oh no! That is why the Founding Fathers, the creators of the American government, created the amendment process. The amendment process are the steps that must be taken in order to change the Constitution. This process isn't an easy process at all! Since 1789, the year the Constitution became the foundation of the government, there have been over 11,000 attempts to amend or change the Constitution and only 27 have succeeded! See how tough the process is?
Article 5: Instruction Manual for Changes
The Founding Fathers gave us instructions on how to change the Constitution. Guess where you can find them!? Right in the Constitution! Pretty clever of them, huh!? To find them you first have to read through the Preamble or introduction. Then, you must read through the Articles or the sections that tell us exactly how the government will work, until you get to Article V (5). Now, I won't tell you exactly what Article V says, as the words are pretty complicated even for some adults! Instead, let's break the amendment process down into a more understandable way!
I Suggest and I Agree!
During the amendment process, an amendment is proposed and then it must be ratified. Let's talk about those two new words! To propose an amendment means to suggest it. To ratify an amendment means to approve an amendment into the Constitution. So, let's take these two terms, propose and ratify, and piece this all together!
Which Path Will You Take?
The amendment process has two paths. The only difference is who does the initial proposing of the amendment.
The National Legislative Proposed Path
- Step 1: Propose an amendment and two-thirds of Congress must agree to pass the proposal.
- Step 2: Ratify the proposal by either three-fourths of the state legislatures agreeing, or setting up a special state meeting called a convention. At this meeting, three-fourths of the individuals must agree with the proposal.
The State Legislative Proposed Path
- Step 1: Two-thirds of state legislatures get together and ask the Congress to have a meeting called a convention to propose the amendments.
- Step 2: The meeting is held and representatives from each state propose an amendment.
- Step 3: The amendment is ratified when three-fourths of the state legislatures or three-fourths of state delegates vote to approve.
The amendment process is the steps to take to change the Constitution. First, an amendment must be proposed or suggested, and then it must be ratified or accepted. There are two different paths to the process: the national legislative proposed path or the state legislative proposed path.
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