Article V is the fifth of seven amendments in the Constitution, the lodestar of the KTB Prep American Government and Civics series designed to acquaint users with the origins, concepts, organizations, and policies of the United States government and political system. The goal is greater familiarization with the rights and obligations of citizenship at the local, state, national, and global levels and the history of our nation as a democracy.
What is the Constitution?
The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.
It’s organized into three parts. The first part, the Preamble, describes the purpose of the document and the Federal Government. The second part, the seven Articles, establishes how the Government is structured and how the Constitution can be changed. The third part, the 27 Amendments, lists changes to the Constitution; the first 10 are called the Bill of Rights.
Article V outlines the amendment process. The only way to change the constitution is by adding an amendment. It is only one paragraph long.
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. “kids.laws.com
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.
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. 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.