Pending and Failed Amendments

U.S. Constitution of 1787

Pending and Failed Amendments 
There are six amendments to the US Constitution of 1787 that have been passed by the United States Congress but did not get ratified by the appropriate number of states' legislatures. Four of these amendments remain pending before state lawmakers, one has expired by its own terms, and one (the Equal Rights Amendment) has expired by the terms of the resolution proposing it, although the expiration is not in the Amendment itself.  Consequently, the expiration of the ERA Amendment is disputed.

Date Proposed
Congressional Apportionment Amendment
September 25, 1789
Article The First is the only Amendment of the Bill Of Rights proposed by the First Congress that is still pending before state lawmakers.  Signers: Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg (PA) & Vice President John Adams (MA) 
Apportionment of U.S. Representatives
Titles of Nobility Amendment
May 1, 1810
Still pending before state lawmakers.
Prohibition of titles of nobility
Corwin Amendment
March 2, 1861
Still pending before state lawmakers.
Preservation of slavery
Child Labor Amendment
June 2, 1924
Still pending before state lawmakers.
Congressional power to regulate child labor
Equal Rights Amendment
March 22, 1972
Expired 1982, though possibly still able to be ratified as the deadline was extended and not placed in the Amendment's text.
Prohibition of inequality of men and women
District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment
August 2, 1978
Expired 1985; cannot be revived as the deadline was in the amendment's text.
D.C. voting rights

National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Independence Hall Class of 2017 students at Federal Hall National Historic Park with Ranger holding the 1789 Acts of Congress opened to the 12 Amendment Joint Resolution of Congress issued September 25th, 1789. The only amendment in the "Bill of Rights" that was not ratified is Article the First, which is still pending before Congress. Cintly is holding an Arthur St. Clair signed Northwest Territory document, Imani is holding the First Bicameral Congressional Act establishing the U.S. Department of State and Rachael is holding a 1788 John Jay letter sent to the Governor of Connecticut, Samuel Huntington, transmitting a treaty with France. – Primary Sources courtesy of

Article the First or the Congressional Apportionment Amendment is exhibited with the Bill of Rights and the 27th Amendment.  Article The First, due to a clerical error, is the only amendment submitted by the 1789 U.S. Congress in its "Bill of Rights" that was not ratified by the States. If the Bill of Rights’ first amendment had been ratified, the maximum constituent cap for each member of the House of Representatives would be 50,000 rather than the current one representative to 708,000 citizen ratio. Proponents maintain its enactment, as proposed in the original first amendment by the 1789 House of Representatives, would neuter lobbyist HR influence, invalidate Gerrymandering, rectify the Wyoming vs California Electoral College imbalance, greatly reduce the cost of HR races and restore the collective wisdom of citizen governance over the House of Representatives.   

Bill of Rights: A 1790’s printing of the September 25th, 1789, Act of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled proposing 12 Constitutional Amendments: “Articles in addition to, amendment of, the constitution of the United States of America, proposed by congress, and ratified by the legislatures of the several states, pursuant to the fifth article of the original constitution.” Signed in type by Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Adams, Vice-President of the United States and president of the Senate.
Titles of Nobility Amendment is exhibited here in the Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Eleventh Congress.[Washington, D.C.]. This is a first edition of the first official collected printings of congressional acts, printed for use by the House and Senate, containing laws and treaties enacted under President Madison.

Corwin Amendment -  On March 2, 1861, the United States House of Representatives and Senate approved by a 2/3rd’s majority an amendment to the United States Constitution:

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.

The purpose of this amendment was to shield "domestic institutions" of the states that in 1861 included slavery, from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress.  (Click Here for More Information).

Laws of the United States, Public Acts of the Thirty-Sixth Congress of the United States passed at the Second Session, which began and held at the City of Washington, in the District of Columbia, on Monday, the 3rd day of December, 1860, and ended on Monday, the 4th day of March, 1861.

March 2, 1861, Congressional printing of the failed 13th Amendment: "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."

Child Labor Amendment - Exhibited is An examination of the proposed Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: Being the so-called Child Labor Amendment, James A Emery National Association of Manufacturers, 1924.
Equal Rights Amendment - Exhibited is a letter and signed photo of United States Representative Leonor K. Sullivan, the first woman in Congress from Missouri.  Sullivan was one of very few members of Congress, and the only woman Representative, to vote against the Equal Rights Amendment for women.  

Also exhibited is a typed letter signed by US Senator Barry Goldwater on his official letterhead, dated July 27, 1978, regarding the Equal Rights Amendment and why he will not agree to extend the ratification deadline.  

Finally, exhibited is the Statement on the Equal Rights Amendment, United States Commission on Civil Rights, US Government printing office, 1978.


District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment - Exhibited is The Constitution of the United States of America as amended, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1978. 

95th Congress; House Document No. 95-256; Analytical Index; Unratified Amendments. Foreword by Honorable Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Lower front is stamped "Compliments of Senator Adlai Stevenson." Exhibits

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Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos hosting the Louisiana Primary Source Exhibit at the State Capitol Building for the 2012 Bicentennial Celebration.

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1 comment:

  1. The Discovery of Connecticut's 1790 Vote for all twelve amendments from the Bill of Rights (found in 2011 in their archives) caused the Congressional Apportionment Amendment to be ratified. Kentucky's vote in 1792 as the 15th state pushed it to 80%. More then enough to become a ratified amendment.


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