Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amendments to the USA Constitution

As we studied last Friday, the USA Constitution written in 1787 continues to be in force. This is an important difference between Spain, where we´ve had seven different Constitutions and two more projects along history. But this doesn´t mean that the USA Constitution hasn´t been modified several times. This is what we call "amendments". Twenty-seven amendments have been included in the USA Constitution since 1787. The first ten amendments formed the Bill of Rights, which recognizes rights such as freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition, the right to keep and bear weapons, the right to have a fair trial and not to declare if this could incriminate oneself. Other transcendental amendments were. 

- the 13th Amendment (1865), which abolished slavery and servitude 

- the 15th Amendment (1870), which gave the right to vote to non-white people 

- the 18th Amendment (1919), which established Prohibition of producing, buying and selling alcohol. This one was abolished with the 21st Amendment in 1933

- the 19th Amendment (1920), which gave women the right to vote

- the 26th Amendment established the right to vote for those aged 18 or more.

Many of these amendments referred to suffrage, because the USA don´t have a national electoral law. Every State has different laws for elections and that´s why they had to include general rules that have to be applied everywhere. 

Since 1787 more than 9,000 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed, but only 27 have been accepted. The last one (the 27th) was made in 1992.

Here you have a complete list of the 27 amendments: 

This is the process to amend the Constitution: 

And here you have another link to the proposed amendments that haven´t been ratified for different reasons: 

Finally, here you have two videos made to learn the amendments: 

- the first one was made by two boys who create songs about different school topics. They are called Smart Songs and this is their video about the Bill of Rights: 

- And this one was made by a student called Mike Simmons. You can read the lyrics below the video on Youtube: 

Would you dare to do something similar about a different topic?

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