Thursday, September 25, 2014

The “Other” Amendments in the Bill of Rights

By Frank N. Barker
Assistant Education Coordinator

On this day, September 25, in 1787, a joint resolution of the 1st Congress approved 12 amendments to the recently ratified Constitution of the United States. These would become known as the Bill of Rights and many of the ideas and wording were based on George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Did you read that paragraph carefully? Did you notice that Congress approved 12 amendments? Do you remember all 12 or were you pretty sure that there are only 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights?

Image Courtesy of the National Constitution Center
Congress indeed sent 12 amendments out to the states for ratification. Articles 3 through 12 were ratified and on December 15, 1791, became Articles 1 through 10, the Bill of Rights. What about those other two amendments?

The original Article 1 states “After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.”

This article is still pending. Despite the eventual approval by 12 states by 1792, it was still two states short of ratification. No additional states have voted for it since then. Today, with 50 states, this amendment will need ratification by 27 more states to become an amendment. Congress set no time limit to proposed amendments, so though it is not ratified, it still could be.

Article 2 was submitted by Congress to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789. It was approved and became part of the United States Constitution on May 7, 1992. If you are keeping score, that took 202 years, 7 months and 12 days, longer than any other Constitutional amendment. Instead of becoming the Second Amendment, it became the 27th.

This 27th Amendment prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for Representatives.

It is the most recent amendment to the United States Constitution. It just took a while to get there.

Lloyd, Gordon. "The Bill of Rights | Teaching American History." Teaching American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <>.
“The 27th Amendment | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives.” The 27th Amendment. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <>.

No comments:

Post a Comment