Posted in American History, essay, history, Politics

The Amendements: The Unratifieds

There are several amendments that have not passed congress.  There are amendments that passed but failed to ratify before their time was up.  And there is even one or two that are still floating around timeless from the 1700s.

Since there are several of them, I’m going to put them under a read more due to length.

Congressional Apportionment Amendement (Still Pending since 9/25/1789)

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. (source)

This amendment was one of 12 proposed in 1789 by the first Congress.  10 were ratified as the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10),  and the other two remained in the stasis untill the 27th amendment was ratified 202 years later in 1992.  This amendment, which would provide a formal formula for representation in congress still needs ratification in several states (27 more) before it would become an Amendment. Due to no time limit imposed, it still technically could be ratified.

Titles of Nobility Amendment (Still Pending since 5/1/1810)

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.  (Source)

So basically this amendment, passed in 1810, would revoke citizenship from anyone who gained a title from another nation, or recieved an income, postion, or some sort of incentive from a foriegn power without the approval of Congress.  With no limit, it currently needs 26 states to ratify it into the constitution.   On a funny level, apparently the people who published a general use copy of the consitution at that point decided since it was so close to being ratified (at the time it required less states to ratify) that they would place it in the book as the 13th Amendment.  However, it never made it to the full 2/3rds, as states continued to be added, pushing it further from its goal.  That hasn’t kept people from trying to use the “True” 13th amendment in trial cases even in recent years.

Corwin Amendement (Still Pending since 3/2/1861 – effectively nullified by 13th Amendement)

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State  (Source)

This Amendement I’m glad to say isn’t going to be ratified.  It would basically do the opposite of the 13th Amendment and make it illegal to make slavery illegal.  It would have made the actual 13-15th Amendments impossible unless one explicity repealed the Amendment.  In an odd twist of fate, Lincoln had no problems with the amendment in his first innugral address, and JAmes Buchanan actually signed it (though amendments don’t have to be signed by the President.)

It was ratified by 3 states (Ohio, Maryland and Illinois) and Texas considered ratification in 1963 but no major interest in the Amendment has really been considered since the 1864, a Joint-resoulution of Congress was submitted to commitee to remove the Corwin Amendment from the ratification process but it was removed and no action was taken.  So technically its still available for any state to ratify if they so wish.

It is also sometimes refered to the 13th Amendment (as was Titles of Nobility) as had it been ratified it would have been the 13th at the time.

Child Labor Amendment (Pending since 6/2/1924)

Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.

Section 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress.


This amendment would allow congress to pass laws that would affect the labor laws regarding children and supercede any state laws to that effect (but also not prevent state laws from making their own laws as long as they don’t oppose the Federal laws in place).  This Amendment, due to no time limit, is still available for ratification and only needs 10 states to do so.

However, this amendment is considered non-essiential as it is standard procedure for Federal law to supercede State Laws when there is a despute.  No state has ratified it since 1937.  This is mostly because of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 which prohibited children under 16 from working during school hours and children under 18 from doing “dangerous” jobs.  It also established our current system of 40 hour weeks with time and a half for overtime.

Equal Rights Amendement (Failed Ratification 1979 & 1982)

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.


The Equal Rights Amendement would be a formalised way of expressing equal rights for woman.  However it is been a bit controversal in how it addresses equality. Due to this controversery it failed its first ratification period in 1979 and its extended ratification period in 1982.

In my personal opinon, this should have been ratified which much more ease. Apparently some people objected to the idea of complete equality, saying that woman still needed work protections about heavy lifting and night work.

Perhaps because I live in a time where its a regular occurance to see woman doing heavy lifting, night work and doing much of the same jobs of men, that I don’t see how that is a deterrent. I believe that an employer should be smart enough to know the strengths of his workers.  If someone can not lift over a certian amount, let them lift that amount and get someone else to lift the heavier amounts.  There should be no consideration about gender playing a role in that.  Also I think it is unfair that men would not get the same considerations as women.

The only issue I really see is the issue of Maternity leave, but I’m also someone who believes that paternity leave should be a thing, and that child raising should not be considered solely a female progative.

The fact that there is still a gap wage, and women are still unfairly hired because of the assumption that women will have children and want less hours is a point that perhaps this amendment really does need to be passed.  But that is a subject for another post on another day.

District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendement (Failed Ratification 1985)

Section 1. For purposes of representation in the Congress, election of the President and Vice President, and article V of this Constitution, the District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall be treated as though it were a State.

Section 2. The exercise of the rights and powers conferred under this article shall be by the people of the District constituting the seat of government, and as shall be provided by the Congress.

Section 3. The twenty-third article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 4. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.


This amendment would have given the District of Columbia (Washington DC) the same rights as if they were a state.  They would be given representation (voting) in congress, an ability to fully be a part of the legislative process and be able to submit possible amendments themselves.

There was a time limit in this case, and since it was very strictly set in the text, there was no ability for extention.  IT failed to get the neccesary ratifications before the deadline, thus the 23rd Amendment is still the rules regarding DC’s partispation in legistlation.

And if you are interested in what didn’t pass congress, here is a list of proposed Amendments.


A thirty-something Graphic Designer and writer who likes to blog about books, movies and History.

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