How can the US Constitution be amended?

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The US Constitution can be amended, and the process is elucidated in Article V of the Constitution. In theory, this fact means that the Constitution is a living document which can be shaped as needed as times change. In practice, however, the Constitution has been extremely difficult to amend. Critics...

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The US Constitution can be amended, and the process is elucidated in Article V of the Constitution. In theory, this fact means that the Constitution is a living document which can be shaped as needed as times change. In practice, however, the Constitution has been extremely difficult to amend. Critics have argued that the resultant inflexibility has impaired the nation's federal government.

The Constitution, which was written in 1789, replaced the ineffectual Articles of Confederation—the nation's first constitution. One flaw of the Articles of Confederation was that it could not be amended. This is one reason why the Founding Fathers decided to write a new constitution from scratch.

The Bill of Rights, the Constitution's first ten amendments, were added in order to secure ratification of the Constitution by 1791. Only seventeen additional amendments have been ratified during the past 230 years, and two of those were for the implementation and repeal of Prohibition.

Indeed, amending the Constitution is extremely problematic. First, two-thirds of both chambers of Congress must pass an amendment. Then three-fourths of the state legislatures must ratify it. The partisan politics of 2020 contribute to the difficulty of amending the Constitution.

Because amending the Constitution is nearly impossible today, some serious problems are unlikely to be solved. One of these problems, for example, is the outdated Electoral College. It is archaic and anti-democratic, but there is no chance that an amendment could be passed to eliminate it. Because of this, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is being used by opponents of the Electoral College.

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