Q. 7: How Many Amendments Does the US Constitution Have?

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There have been 27 amendments to the United States Constitution to date.

To pass the US citizenship test, you will have to answer 10 of a possible 100 questions. The following question is from the USCIS test.

How many amendments does the US Constitution have?

Answer:

Twenty-seven.

The following is a full explanation of the USCIS question:

The US Constitution and the Twenty-Seven Amendments

The United States Constitution is one of the most successful constitutions in world history, establishing the foundation for the rule of law in American society for nearly 250 years. Although the same basic principles outlined in the document still largely govern the country today, the US Constitution has been amended twenty-seven different times to adequately adjust to significant societal and political changes in the country. 

The First Ten Amendments – The Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791, soon after the US Constitution was adopted. The Bill of Rights was passed primarily due to the concerns raised by anti-federalists at the Constitutional Convention who thought that the US Constitution lacked appropriate safeguards to guard against governmental tyranny. Credited mainly to the work of Founding Father James Madison, they quickly became the defining symbol of American liberty and freedom. 

Bill of Rights – Amendments 1-5

The first five amendments guarantee American citizens freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitioning the government. They give Americans the right to bear arms, prohibit the quartering of troops, and protect against unlawful searches and seizures by the government. They also protect citizens from self-incrimination, being tried for the same crime more than once, being forced to testify against themselves, or being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. 

Bill of Rights – Amendments 6-10

Amendments 6-10 guarantee citizens the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, confront witnesses against them and have legal counsel. They preserve the right to a trial by jury in certain civil cases, prohibit excessive bail fines, prohibit cruel and unusual punishments, and guarantee certain rights not explicitly listed in the Bill of Rights. They also stipulate that all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government or denied to the states are given to the states or the people. 

11th Amendment

The 11th Amendment restricts the authority of the federal court system in some instances. Citizens of a state could no longer sue citizens from another state in federal court. Also, foreign subjects or states were prohibited from suing the citizens of states in America in federal court. 

12th Amendment

The 12th Amendment altered the rules for the Electoral College in selecting the president and vice president of the United States. Previously, the candidate with the most electoral votes would be elected president, and the candidate with the second most would be elected vice president.

As political factions began to arise, the process was changed to have separate votes for president and vice president, preventing individuals with opposite political views from serving on the same ticket. 

13th Amendment

The 13th Amendment is the first of the three amendments to directly address freedmen and civil rights. It completely abolished slavery and all forms of involuntary servitude, except in cases of punishment for convicted crimes. 

14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment stated that all individuals born or naturalized in the United States could not have any constitutional rights taken away by the local, state, or federal government. Representation in Congress was now based on a state’s population except for Indians.

Formerly enslaved people were to be counted as full individuals and not three-fifths, as before. All citizens aged twenty-one and over now had the right to vote, and states that refused to allow freedmen to vote would have their representation reduced.

The 14th Amendment also prohibited any individual from serving as a senator, representative, or elector of the president or vice president if they had supported the rebellion after previously serving as a governmental or judicial official on the state or federal level.

However, a two-thirds vote by both houses of Congress could overturn this restriction for individual cases. It also obligated the federal government to honor debts relating to the compensation of soldiers and other expenses related to the Civil War, as long as they were incurred in support of the Union. 

15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment guaranteed voting rights to all American citizens regardless of race, color, or previous conditions of servitude. As a result, all former slaves now had the right to vote. 

16th Amendment 

The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to institute an income tax on all sources of income. 

17th Amendment

The 17th Amendment changed the method for electing senators to a direct vote by the people. The US Constitution originally specified that state legislatures were responsible for electing senators. 

18th Amendment

The 18th Amendment banned the sale, manufacture, and importation of all alcoholic beverages in the United States. 

19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.

20th Amendment

The 20th Amendment stated that the terms of the president and vice president end at noon on January 20th and that the terms of members of Congress end at noon on January 3rd. It required Congress to meet at least once a year, beginning at noon on January 3rd, unless they appoint a different day by law. It also clarified the order of succession if the president dies, delegating presidential power to the vice president.

In addition, the 20th Amendment notes that if for some reason the president doesn’t qualify or hasn’t been selected by the beginning of the presidential term, the vice president temporarily becomes president until a president qualifies for the office. Congress is also given the authority to determine who will temporarily act as president if neither a president nor vice president qualifies for the start of a presidential term. 

21st Amendment

The 21st Amendment repealed the previously passed Eighteenth Amendment. The sale, manufacture, and importation of alcohol were now legal across the United States. 

22nd Amendment

The 22nd Amendment limited the president to serving two terms. 

23rd Amendment

The 23rd Amendment gave the District of Columbia electoral votes based on the number of senators and representatives it would have if it were a state. 

24th Amendment 

The 24th Amendment prohibited citizens from being denied voting rights for failing to pay any type of tax.

25th Amendment

The 25th Amendment further clarified the order of succession in the event of the deaths of the president and/or vice president while also developing the process for a president temporarily being removed from power and then seeking to regain power. It also laid out the process for nominating a new vice president upon a vacancy in that office. 

26th Amendment

The 26th Amendment lowered the legal voting age from 21 to 18. 

27th Amendment

The 27th Amendment stated that any changes in congressional pay cannot take effect until after the next election cycle. 

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