Table of Contents
- 0.1 Introduction
- 0.2 Overview of Article 5
- 0.3 Impact of Article 5 on the United States
- 0.4 What it Means for the Future of the United States
- 0.5 Conclusion
- 1 What is Article 5 of the Constitution?
- 2 How is Article 5 Broken Down?
- 3 How Does Article 5 Let Congress Change the Constitution?
- 4 Ratifying an Amendment under Article 5
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, outlining the fundamental principles for how government should operate. Among the articles of the Constitution, Article 5 outlines the process for amending the Constitution, giving the people the power to change and adapt the legal principles to advances in society. In this article, we will explore the specifics of Article 5, its impact on the United States, and how it has influenced the laws of each of the 50 states.
Overview of Article 5
Article 5 outlines the process for amending the Constitution, with two ways thus far being used to add changes to it. To amend the Constitution, two-thirds of both houses of Congress must propose a change or adopt a resolution calling for a convention of the states. In either case, three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment before it becomes part of the Constitution. This means that a proposed amendment first has to pass the House of Representatives and Senate with a two-thirds vote, then be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Article 5 is, without a doubt, the most important piece of the Constitution when it comes to adapting and changing with the times. The framers of the Constitution recognized the fact that a constitution had to be written in a manner that was able to keep up with the times. The Constitution would suffer the same fate as the Articles of Confederation if it could not be changed. However, they also recognized that changes to the document should not be too easy since this could lead to instability and uncertainty in the future governance of the country.
Impact of Article 5 on the United States
Article 5 has been instrumental in ensuring the continued democracy of the United States for over 200 years. Its ability to adapt to the changing needs of society through the amendment process has allowed it to remain relevant and functional while also upholding the principles upon which it was initially established. The amendment process has played a critical role in addressing critical social issues such as civil rights, which required constitutional amendment to enact legislation eliminating segregation and discrimination.
The most significant change to the Constitution was amendment number 13, which abolished slavery. This amendment was necessary as it corrected a significant flaw in the Constitution that allowed slavery to exist. The 13th amendment was passed in 1865, following the American Civil War. Furthermore, amendments 19 and 26 gave women and 18 year-olds, respectively, the right to vote. These amendments have been instrumental in giving all Americans the right to be equal representation and protection under the law, regardless of age or gender.
The Constitution and its amendments have always had a critical role in influencing the laws and future of each of the 50 states. For example, state legislatures have individually created their own constitutions which work alongside the United States Constitution. However, because the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, under the doctrine of federalism, state laws are subject to constitutional review by the Supreme Court. This has been evidenced in countless court cases, where the Supreme Court has ruled state laws unconstitutional for violating the Bill of Rights by undercutting protected individual rights.
One additional significant amendment to the Constitution is the 14th amendment, which has significantly changed the legal landscape of the United States. This amendment was ratified in 1868 and has been critical in ensuring that all citizens of the United States receive equal protections and rights, regardless of their race or ethnicity. The 14th amendment is sometimes called the “Equal Protection Clause” and forms the basis of many modern legal theories. This amendment is crucial, as it ensures critical civil liberties and allows citizens to have faith in the law enforcement that such an amendment exists.
The 14th amendment and the power of Article V in legal interpretation have led to significant changes in U.S. law, both at the federal and state levels. In 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537) that “separate but equal” public facilities for black and white people were constitutional. This put people of color into “separate but equal” facilities for years, undermining the 14th amendment’s tenets. Through time, however, the Supreme Court evolved when it revoked the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954. This declared racial segregation of public schools unconstitutional. That struck down the Jim Crow segregation laws, the “one-drop rule” used to segregate all public facilities, as well as the “separate but equal” doctrine that was used to support them.
What it Means for the Future of the United States
Article 5 will continue to play a crucial role in the future of the United States, especially in ensuring that the Constitution remains relevant and modernizes as the country continues to evolve. This article will continue to be critical in bringing about necessary changes to the Constitution as social conditions or circumstances warrant it. Nevertheless, the amendment process is not a quick fix and cannot be used to address every issue. The inherent properties of constitutional design, however, is to ensure that U.S. society, our government, and other powers remain continually responsive and adaptable as necessary.
Additionally, the importance of continued education on the Constitution and its amendments is critical. As society and the country continues to evolve, schools need to ensure that they are teaching students about the Constitution’s importance and how they have the ability to affect change via Article 5. This education ensures students to remain engaged and contribute to the democratic ways of the country; one reason why every citizen must be encouraged to vote.
Article 5 of the United States Constitution has been instrumental in ensuring that the country remains relevant and continues to evolve with the times. Its power to amend the Constitution reflects a conscious design decision by the country’s founding fathers, who understood that the Constitution had to remain relevant and adaptable. Over the years, amendments have ensured that everyone has equal rights, access to protection under the law, and even changed Supreme Court decisions that affected so many. With education about the Constitution’s importance and the amendment process, the United States will remain prosperous and continue to evolve as a democratic society for years to come.
What is Article 5 of the Constitution?
Article 5 of the United States Constitution is the article about how the United States Constitution can be changed. The only way to change the constitution is by adding an amendment.
How is Article 5 Broken Down?
While other Articles of the Constitution are broken down into sections and clauses, Article 5 of the United States Constitution is just one paragraph.
Text of Article 5 of the Constitution
The text of Article 5 is the following:
” The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. ”
How Does Article 5 Let Congress Change the Constitution?
If Congress thinks it is necessary to change the Constitution, at least two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have to propose an Amendment to the Constitution. In order to do this, Congress has to call an Article 5 Convention or an Amendments Convention. During this process, the President of the United States cannot do anything to help or stop the process.
Ratifying an Amendment under Article 5
After an amendment is officially proposed, it must then be ratified, or approved on, by the legislatures of at least 75% of the states. Once enough of the states ratify the amendment, it becomes law in all of the states. Sometimes, a state will ratify an amendment that has been already passed as a symbol of how important the amendment is. For example, every state ratified the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery.
Even though Article 5 does not specifically say how long the state legislatures have to ratify an amendment, Congress can give a deadline if they want to.