The National Society of Natural-Born Citizens of the United States

Amendments; Time between presentation and ratification

     There were twelve Articles passed by Congress and submitted to the States on September 25, 1789.  By December 15, 1791, Articles III through XII had been ratified and became known as the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments.  It had taken roughly two years and almost three months to become Amendments after presentation to the States. 

     The Second Article of that first twelve presented to the States was not ratified until May 7, 1992 or slightly over two hundred two years and seven months and so far the longest period between presentation and ratification.  It became the latest and Twenty-Seventh Amendment to the Constitution.

     The First Article passed by Congress September 25, 1789, and presented to the States is still capable of being ratified to become part of the Constitution.  That Article was to change the ratio of Representation of Representatives to People at the required by Constitution ratio of 1:30,000, to a ratio of 1:40,000 and 1:50,000 when the number of Representatives in the House had reached 100 and 200, respectively.

      Because Congress was aware that the ratio number was fixed in and by the Constitution, the ratio had to be changed by Amendment.  Congress does not have the required number of Representatives at the required ratio of 1:30,000.  I hope every concerned citizen tells their State Senator and Delegates to ratify that Article to increase representation of the People which has always been the intent of the Deputies forming the Constitution.  I cannot account for the lack of knowledge of the intent from recent Supreme Court decisions.


     Because this piece is about the period of time that has elapsed between the time of presentation to the States of an Article and the date of ratification, it will only be mentioned that there are two other Articles still before the States for ratification that are capable of becoming Amendments to the Constitution.

     The Eleventh Amendment was passed by Congress and presented to the States on March 4, 1794.  This proposed change to the Constitution was the result of a Supreme Court decision in the case Chisholm v Georgia (2 U.S. 419) 1793.  Chief Justice John Jay determined that under the Constitution the Court was empowered to resole controversies "between a State and citizens of another State," it did not matter which was the defendant and which was the plaintiff.  The States' complaint was that no individual citizen of another State or foreign power could sue over a controversy with the individual State. 

     The Amendment reads; "The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."  It was ratified on February 7, 1795, eleven months, less than a year, after presentation. 

     The Twelfth Amendment was passed by Congress December 9, 1803, and just over six months later, on June 15, 1804, the States had ratified the Amendment.  The country had just experienced a very difficult Presidential election were the victor would be chosen by the House of Representatives because they had an equal number of Electoral votes.  The Amendment was very necessary to resolve an impediment in the Constitution. 

     If you are willing to take time to compare the Constitution of the United States to the Constitution of the Confederate States you will find that the twelve Amendments in the U.S. Constitution appear in the body of the Constitution of the Confederate States.  It appears the Confederate States were trying to preserve the spirit and letter of the Constitution more than the U.S. government.

     The Thirteenth Amendment was passed by Congress January 31, 1865, and before the end of the year, on December 6, 1865, enough States had ratified the Article to end "slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." 

     The Fourteenth Amendment took from June 13, 1866, until July 9, 1868, or two years and one month, from passage by Congress to ratification and became an Amendment.  As decisions by the Supreme Court show, this Amendment provides each person born in the United states the right to choose citizenship or subject status in the foreign country of their parents or in the United States.

     It is a choice that is required upon reaching their age of majority.  It is known as "Jure Soli," legislated place of birth; it should not be confused with "Jus Soli," which is the right of a King to declare anyone born on land He controls as His "subject."  "Jus Sanguinis," by right of blood, was the means to citizenship established by the Constitution. Natural born citizens are males born to a citizen father and a citizen mother, neither having been born to parents in allegiance to a foreign State. 

     The Fifteenth Amendment, necessary to reinforce the Fourteenth, was passed February 26, 1869, and ratified February 3, 1870, less than a year later.  The Fourteenth Amendment contained the law necessary for new male citizens to vote while retaining the exclusion of Native American Indians from voting.  This right to vote was extended to all males over their age of majority, twenty-one, which was later changed to eighteen by the Twenty-Sixth Amendment in 1971.

     To recap what the time periods were for passage of the first fifteen Amendments;

I thru X   2years  3 months

XI                      11 months

XII                      6 months

XIII                    11 months

XIV         2 years  1 month

XV                      11 months

     The Sixteenth Amendment was not a topic people wanted to discuss, taxes.  This Article passed Congress July 2, 1909, and in less than four years, three years seven months, the Article was ratified by enough States and became an Amendment on February 3, 1913,  It was necessary to repeal and replace the clause in the Constitution reading, "No capitation, or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken." 

     The Amendment simply states, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

     This is a good place to note that under the Constitution when the word "enumeration" is used it means "census" and a census is an accounting of the citizen population and the foreign non-citizen inhabitants of the United States.  Citizens are to be represented while non-citizens are not to be represented in the Congress of the United States. 


     The Seventeenth Amendment is another much needed refinement to the Constitution by changing the method of appointing Senators.  The Constitution stipulated the Senators were to be chosen by the Legislature of each State.  The Article passed Congress on May 13, 1912, and less than eleven months later, April 8, 1913, enough States had ratified the Article to become part of the Constitution.   

     It should be noted that following the Civil War, Congress permitted persons who had not been citizens the required number of years to be Members of Congress.  The Legislature of Mississippi had selected a man who could not legally be a Member of Congress and rather than let the Judiciary decide the Constitutional question, Congress acted in violation of the Constitution. 

     The Eighteenth Amendment holds a distinction shared by no other Amendment to date.  It was passed by Congress December 18, 1917, at the height of World War I, and ratified January 16, 1919, just less than thirteen months, as soldiers were coming home from a war not wanted by the people of the United States. 

     The 18th is the only Amendment to be repealed, on December 3, 1933, by Amendment XXI which had taken only nine and a half months to be ratified.  It was also the first to contain the seven year stipulation.  If the Article was not ratified "within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress" it will become inoperative.      

     It also spawned a case before the Supreme Court that determined exactly when an Article has been ratified and becomes an Amendment.  Dillon v Gloss (256 U.S. 368) 1921, is that case.  In the decision Justice Van Devanter mentions the two Articles passed in 1789, one in 1810, and one in 1861, that are still pending. He also found that an Article becomes an Amendment at the time the last State required ratifies the Article.  In the past it had been when the Secretary of State had notified Congress, in this case, January 29, 1919.  This means dates given as the ratification date of an Article in the past could be incorrectly stated. 

     The Nineteenth Amendment took a little over fourteen months to be ratified having been passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified August 18, 1920.  This Article was introduced in Congress to allow for female suffrage and states simply "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."  This Article did not contain the seven year stipulation. 

     Ironically, the Article was introduced in Congress after the first female presented her credentials of election from the State of Montana to be a Member of the House of Representatives.  The Supreme Court had ruled clearly in Minor v Happersett (88 U.S. 162) 1875, that while several States permitted female suffrage in State elections, that right does not extend to females under the Constitution of the United States.  Not only did the State of Montana violate that ruling by allowing female suffrage in a national election, the House of Representatives magnified the injury by allowing Jeannette Rankin in April 1917, a seat in violation of the Constitution. 

     Amendment XIX does not include and is necessary for any Amendment to include if law is to be provided, to state the right of the female gender to hold elected or appointed position where the "Advice and Consent of the Senate" is required.  The Constitution of Wyoming may have been the first to include such a provision, but the Constitution of the United States does not at this time. 

     The Twentieth Amendment took what I am calling 10 1/2 months, from passage on March 2, 1932, until ratification January 23, 1933.  This was a correction and a correction of a correction.  It changes part of the Constitution and replaces part of an Amendment.  It also contains the seven year stipulation. 

     Amendment XXI as previously stated took only 9 1/2 months yet it carried the seven year stipulation.  Who knew prohibition could be ended so quickly.  Anything  that is wrong will be quickly corrected.

     Amendment XXII took longer than most Amendments, almost four years.  President Roosevelt had been elected to a fourth term, two terms longer than the tradition established by our first President, George Washington.  It passed Congress March 21, 1947, and was not ratified until February 27, 1951, three years and eleven months.  It likewise carried the seven year stipulation. 

     The Twenty-Third Amendment was a quickie, 9 1/2 months.  It was the 1960's and Washington DC had a lot of voters.   It is not a State but it is given the status of a State and provides three Electoral votes.  Passed by Congress June 16, 1960, and ratified March 29, 1961.  No seven year provision was attached to this Article.

     Amendment Twenty-Four did not take long to ratify, less than a two year term in Congress.  It passed Congress on August 27, 1962, and was ratified January 23, 1964.  That was about one year and five months.  It is one of the less necessary Amendments passed and ratified.  The Amendment is directed at a "poll tax or other tax."  There are a multitude of other requirements that can be considered an obstruction. 

     The Article that became the Twenty-Fifth Amendment was put before Congress because President Kennedy had been shot and incapacitated.  Had he survived, he may have been incapable of governing.  In that eventuality how the line of authority would be shaped became paramount.  It's usefulness in the near future was not apparent when Congress passed the Article July 6, 1965, and in less than two years, more like one year seven months, on February 10, 1967, was ratified. 

     This Amendment became vitally important when Richard Nixon's Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, was forced to resign leaving a vacancy in the Office of Vice-President.  Gerald Ford was selected by Congress, not elected by the people, to fill that vacancy.  Upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford was elevated to the Presidency.  President Ford became the only to date un-elected by the people man to be President.   


     Should you look at pictures of the faces of the forty-four men who have served as President, one of those men was not elected by the people , Gerald Ford.  And the faces show one man served as President for two terms but not consecutively, and that was Grover Cleveland.  He was President for the Twenty-Second Administration and also the Twenty-Fourth Administration. 

     In the election of 1888, his opponent, Benjamin Harrison, captured more Electoral votes with a smaller percentage of the popular vote and served as President of the Twenty-Third Administration.  Cleveland re-gained the Presidency in the 1892 elections becoming the only man so far to win non-consecutive Presidential Administrations, the 22nd and 24th.

     There have been 45 changes of Presidential Administrations that have been filled by 44 men, only 43 of which have been elected by the people.  There is a difference between what I report and what you hear from other sources.  The information is available to all who look.

     Amendment Twenty-Six was passed so quick it was like the States were waiting for the increase of voters.  This was baby boom time and there was Vietnam.  Boys were dying for their country but were not able to vote.  During the Revolutionary War non-age eligible boys were dying and to them it was a privilege to serve.  When Congress passed the Article March 23, 1971, it took less than four months to be ratified on July 1, 1971. 

XVI   3 years         7 months

XVII                    11 months

XVIII 1year            1 month

XIX    1 year          2 months

XX                 10 1/2 months

XXI                  9 1/2 months

XXII   3 years       11 months

XXIII               9 1/2 months

XXIV   1 year          5 months

XXV    1 year          7 months

XXVI        less than 4 months

XXVII  202 years     7 months

     When you look at the figures on how long it does take to ratify an Article, the length of time is not that long.  Of the seventeen Articles passed after the initial twelve, nine were ratified in less than a year and one of those Articles took less than four months to be ratified.  Of course you can bring up that one Article took over 202 years to be ratified.  My fervent desire is that the First Article of the first twelve proposed be ratified. 

     Of the other seven Articles, four were ratified is less than two years.  The remaining three took between two and close to four years.  The XXII Amendment dealing with Presidential term limits took the longest at almost four years.  The Sixteenth Amendment allowing individual taxes took slightly over 3 1/2 years.  Most Articles passed by Congress can be ratified in less than a two year term of Congress.  When you hear that it is too difficult to approve a necessary change in the Constitution, the person is saying that it is easier to break the Law than change the Law.  The fault is with Congress, not the States.


Richard Carl Shellhorn