The following is a list of the 27 constitutional amendments. Twenty-five of these constitutional amendments are currently active. The two amendments of the constitution that are inactive are the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) and the 21st Amendment (Repeal of Prohibition).
You can also download a PDF of the 27 Amendments if you wish to.
The First 10 Amendments to the Constitution
What are the first 10 amendments called?
The first 10 of these amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and relate to personal and individual rights. The Bill of Rights was ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures on December 15, 1791.
Over 11,000 additional constitutional amendments have been proposed, with approximately 200 proposed for the amendment process a year. For a proposed constitutional amendment to be passed is a very complicated process.
What Are the First 27 Amendments of the Constitution?
The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment is about Freedom of speech. The notion that the government will not interfere with the ability of the people, the press, or religious groups to express their views or to protest in favor of them.
It starts with:
Congress shall make no law…
The 2nd Amendment
The 2nd Amendment is about the right to bear arms. In the modern world, the continued right to own firearms and protect property according to the law.
The 3rd Amendment
The 3rd Amendment is a law stating that citizens do not have to house soldiers in wartime or peacetime if they do not consent to do so.
The 4th Amendment
The 4th Amendment is about the right of the people of the United States to feel secure in their homes and possessions without fear of “unreasonable searches and seizures.” This relates to modern law concerning the need for a warrant to search property.
The 5th Amendment
The 5th Amendment is commonly known as the double jeopardy law. Those tried and acquitted for a crime cannot be tried again for that same crime. Also, the accused cannot be asked to be a witness against themselves.
The 6th Amendment
The 6th Amendment is about the right of all citizens of the United States to a speedy and fair public trial. This also means an impartial jury and the right to a defense counsel and witnesses in their favor.
It also infers the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
The 7th Amendment
The 7th Amendment gives the right for any claimant to take a matter to court and trial by jury when the value in question exceeds $20.
The 8th Amendment
The 8th Amendment is a ban on extreme punishments for crimes, focusing on those that are “cruel and unusual” and on excessive fines or bail.
The 9th Amendment
The 9th Amendment clarifies that United States citizens have far more rights than those currently listed and that their absence doesn’t diminish their importance.
The 10th Amendment
The 10th Amendment attempts to separate federal and state law, where the federal government only has the powers assigned to it via the United States Constitution. The states have power over everything else.
The 11th Amendment
The 11th Amendment is the notion that the right for citizens to sue a state only applies to residents in that state. In other words, Texans can’t sue the State of New Mexico. It was ratified on February 7, 1795.
The 12th Amendment
The 12th Amendment is a complex amendment that lays out all the laws for how Presidents and Vice Presidents progress through the nomination and election process. It goes into who is allowed to vote and qualified electors and delegates. Also, the requirements for becoming president. It was ratified on June 15, 1804.
The 13th Amendment
The 13th Amendment is about the abolition of slavery. The promise that slavery, or “involuntary servitude,” would exist no longer within the United States. The exception here is on the conviction of a crime. This amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865.
The 14th Amendment
The 14th Amendment is the assertion that all those born or naturalized within the United States are citizens of the United States. Furthermore, the promise that no state will enforce any law that will damage these privileges in any way. This is also known as the Equal Protection Clause and was ratified on July 9, 1868.
The 15th Amendment
The 15th Amendment stipulates that any citizen of the United States has the right to vote, regardless of their race and color of their skin. This constitutional amendment also mentions those with a “previous condition of servitude,” which grants the right to former slaves. It was ratified on February 3, 1870.
The 16th Amendment
The 16th Amendment is a law that allowed Congress to start collecting income tax, with the promise that this would not be based on the state’s population. It was ratified on February 3, 1913.
The 17th Amendment
The 17th Amendment lays out the terms for electing senators. This gave power to the people of the US to choose their representatives and laid out the terms of office. The Seventeenth Amendment was ratified on April 8, 1913.
The 18th Amendment
The Eighteenth Amendment is also known as the Prohibition Law. This prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of “intoxicating liquors.” This essentially meant a ban on alcohol and led to the Prohibition Era of bootleg alcohol sales and consumption. The 18th Amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919 but subsequently repealed by the 21st Amendment.
The 19th Amendment
The 19th Amendment is about the right for any citizen of the United States to vote, regardless of their biological sex. Essentially, this was the moment women joined male citizens and were granted the right to vote in the United States. This amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.
The 20th Amendment
The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution is the decision that all presidential terms, and those of vice presidents, will end at noon on January 20th. In addition to this, it was decided that the date of the start of a term in the Senate would move to January 3rd. The Twentieth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933.
The 21st Amendment
The 21st Amendment is the motion to repeal the 18th Amendment, the Prohibition Law, and allow for the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. It was ratified on December 5, 1933 due to the inability to enforce the law. Instead, individual states gained the right to police alcohol-related laws themselves.
The 22nd Amendment
The 22nd Amendment is the notion that no president should be eligible for election into office for more than two terms. Furthermore, anyone promoted to president for two years or more of a term cannot be elected for more than one additional term. The amendment was proposed in 1947, following FDR’s term from 1933 to 1945, and ratified on February 27, 1951.
The 23rd Amendment
The 23rd Amendment ensures that Washington, D.C. had electors in the Electoral College, but only as many as the state with the lowest number. This would ensure that voters there had better representation in future elections. The amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961.
The 24th Amendment
The 24th Amendment is about the right of any citizen of the United States to vote for candidates in any election for Presidential, Senate, or Congress representatives, even if they have missed a tax payment. This could mean a poll tax payment or any other tax. This amendment was ratified on January 23, 1964.
The 25th Amendment
The 25th Amendment says that the vice president will take office and take over the role of president if the president is removed from office, resigns, or dies. This was proposed in 1965 after Lyndon Johnson took over the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was ratified on February 10, 1967.
The 26th Amendment
The 26th Amendment is about the voting rights of all American citizens over 18. Before this, the voting age had been 21. There is also mention of being able to do so without fear of having their vote denied because of their age. The amendment was ratified on July 1, 1971.
The 27th Amendment
The 27th Amendment submits that any changes to the salary of those in Congress should not take effect until the next election of representatives. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of this bill, this took a long time to reach ratification. It was proposed in 1789 and ratified on May 7, 1992.
27 Amendments of the Constitution
The above are 27 amendments that have become part of the United States Constitution. There are approximately 10,000 amendments that have been rejected and never ratified.
When Was Each of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution Ratified?
The ratification dates for each of the 27 Amendments to the United States Constitution are as follows:
- First 10 Amendments (Bill of Rights) – December 15, 1791
- 11th Amendment – February 7, 1795
- 12th Amendment – June 15, 1804
- 13th Amendment – December 6, 1865
- 14th Amendment – July 9, 1868
- 15th Amendment – February 3, 1870
- 16th Amendment – February 3, 1913
- 17th Amendment – April 8, 1913
- 18th Amendment – January 16, 1919
- 19th Amendment – August 18, 1920
- 20th Amendment – January 23, 1933
- 21st Amendment – December 5, 1933
- 22nd Amendment – February 27, 1951
- 23rd Amendment – March 29, 1961
- 24th Amendment – January 23, 1964
- 25th Amendment – February 10, 1967
- 26th Amendment – July 1, 1971
- 27th Amendment – May 7, 1992
Constitutional Amendments Quiz
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