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Tuesday
Feb132007

Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

While flipping through my pocket-size U.S. constitution I came across a section about amendments that were proposed but never ratified. There have been over 10,000 such proposals since 1789 and, "fewer than one percent of them have received enough support to actually go through the constitutional ratification process." Looking through this abbreviated list I can't help but wonder what the United States would look like if any one of these had passed. I would love to read a short story featuring any number of these proposed amendments.

1876: An attempt to abolish the United States Senate

1876: The forbidding of religious leaders from occupying a governmental office or receiving federal funding

1878: An Executive Council of Three to replace the office of president

1893: Renaming this nation "The United States of the Earth"

1893: Abolishing the United States Army and Navy

1894: Acknowledging that the Constitution recognize God and Jesus Christ as the supreme authorities in human affairs

1912: Making marriage between races illegal

1914: Finding divorce to be illegal

1916: All acts of war should be put to a national vote. Anyone voting yes has to register as a volunteer for service in the United States Army.

1933: An attempt to limit personal wealth to $1 million

1936: An attempt to allow the American people to vote on whether or not the United States should go to war

1938: The forbidding of drunkeness in the United States and all of its territories

1947: The income tax maximum for an individual should not exceed 25%

1948: The right of citizens to segregate themselves from others

1971: American citizens should have the alienable right to an environment free of pollution

Any favorites?

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Reader Comments (9)

I like your challenge to come up with short stories about potential Americas with this. I'm curious to know more about the Executive Council of Three idea, and would like to know more about this.

February 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSean Tubbs

I'd say

"All acts of war should be put to a national vote. Anyone voting yes has to register as a volunteer for service in the United States Army."

seems pretty interesting right about now. :)

February 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjoeyjoseph

There are quite a few amendments that remain in the ratification process, some for hundreds of years, having been approved by Congress but not ratified. Most interesting to me are the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titles_of_Nobility_Amendment" REL="nofollow">Titles of Nobility amendment and the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_Amendment" REL="nofollow">Corwin Amendment.

February 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

I actually like the 1947 and 1948 items you posted. I would love to have a cap on how much the IRS can assess for individual taxes, but I think setting it at a flat 25% wouldn't work well.

And the right to segregate myself from others? I guess I already have that, but how nice would it be to close the door once in a while and say 'It's my right to have you leave me alone for a while!' Think of what that would do to telemarketing.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commentericollectgames

I bought a copy of that book years ago, and I think I might've done a presentation in high school based on those amendments.

Of course I'm not a reliable source, so don't quote me on that.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGyrobo

It's a fascinating topic. The federal government would find work-arounds that would let them ignore some amendments. They could easily tax more than 25% of a person's income just by doing something that wasn't technically an income tax.

February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterScott Haley

1876: The forbidding of religious leaders from occupying a governmental office or receiving federal funding

1894: Acknowledging that the Constitution recognize God and Jesus Christ as the supreme authorities in human affairs

Somebody saw something coming.

August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJerimiah H. Krzackhor

1) All acts of war should be put to a national vote. Anyone voting yes has to register as a volunteer for service in the United States Army.

2) An attempt to limit personal wealth to $1 million

3) An attempt to allow the American people to vote on whether or not the United States should go to war

4) American citizens should have the alienable right to an environment free of pollution

September 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScreaming Rambler

That "Council of Three" idea was actually one of the original proposals when the Constitution was being written. It's an interesting idea, essentially agreement of two of the three would be necessary to enact a law.

Was the 1971 supposed to be "inalienable"?

April 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

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