Only 27 attempts to change the Constitution have succeeded in passing the rigorous process to ratification
Here are just some of the ways Americans have tried to change the nation
In the two centuries since our nation’s founders wrote of their goal to “form a more perfect union” in the U.S. Constitution, Americans have made more than 11,000 attempts to change it.
Most, however, failed miserably. Among the many attempts to add amendments to the Constitution, only 27 have succeeded in passing the rigorous process to ratification.
With help from the U.S. National Archives, here are just some of the ways Americans have tried to change the nation.
1. Ban drunkenness
In 1938, after prohibition had been repealed and Americans were rightfully celebrating nationwide, a member of Congress proposed an amendment to ban heavy intoxication. One of his colleagues found the idea so ridiculous, he scribbled a hand-written addition to the bottom that cheekily also proposed banning Saturday nights.
2. No more duelers in Congress
America has a long history of powerful leaders participating in duels. (See: Alexander Hamilton.) An 1838 proposal aimed to put a stop to it by banning anyone who had previously participated in a duel from holding federal office.
3. Ban presidents
Being president has never been an easy job – or a popular one – which is why some Americans in the year leading up to the Civil War wanted to get rid of the office altogether. The 1860 proposal suggested replacing a single president with an executive committee.
4. Not all women (can vote)
In 1888, more than 32 years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, someone proposed allowing only “spinsters and widows” access the ballot box. Married women were excluded because, as the proponents argued at the time, their husbands could represent their electoral choices just fine for them.
5. “The United States of The World”
As the nation’s global influence began to grow near the end of the nineteenth century, some believed we had outgrown our landmass and moved to change the name of the country from “United States of America” to “United States of the World.”
6. Make God great again
There were several movements throughout American history to further affirm God’s role in national leadership. One 1961 proposal aimed to recognize the “authority and law of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Ruler of Nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God” and two others, both in 1894, wanted to “acknowledge God and the Christian religion” and recognize “God as the Supreme Authority in all affairs of men” in the Constitution.
7. Everyone votes on war
While the United States was still debating whether to enter World War I, lawmakers proposed an amendment that would require Congress to seek approval for declaring war from the people through a referendum. The idea gained popularity again in 1938 before World War II.
8. The Powerball presidency
This one is pretty much the nineteenth-century version of “lol nothing matters.” Lawmakers in 1846 argued that the president should be chosen not by the people or Electoral College, but by random lottery: They literally wanted to pick a ball out of a bucket.
And that’s not all! For more, watch the video above.