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Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders’ Plan

• The Goldwater Institute

Americans are increasingly questioning - and resisting - the endless growth of the federal government. Part of this resistance finds voice in efforts to enforce state sovereignty through litigation and legislation such as the Health Care Freedom Act and the Firearms Freedom Act. Measures such as these protect existing, fundamental rights from erosion at the federal level. But the growing discontent has also reignited interest in an even more direct route for the people and the states to regain control over the federal government - the Article V constitutional amendment process.

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states have the power to apply to Congress to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. This power was meant to provide a fail-safe mechanism to control the federal government.

This report demonstrates that the historical record during the Founding era establishes a clear roadmap to guide the Article V amendment process. Among other seminal discoveries, this report reveals that the Framers rejected drafts of Article V that contemplated the very kind of wide-open convention that could “run away,” substituting instead a provision for a limited-scope convention, attended by state-chosen delegates, and addressed to specific subject matters.

Of course, abuses of the Article V constitutional amendment process are possible. But that possibility must be viewed against the clear and present danger to individual rights and freedom of doing nothing. This report recommends that states seriously consider initiating the Article V constitutional amendment process to restrain the federal government.
 
Robert G. Natelson - is a leading expert on the American Founding.  His publications on the Constitution's original meaning have pioneered the use of such critical, but formerly neglected, historical sources as eighteenth-century law, language, and drafting practice.  In 2010, Cambridge University Press published his co-authored work on the Constitution's Necessary and Proper Clause.
 

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ross Wolf
Entered on:

Can A Constitutional Convention Have Unintended Consquences?

On paper under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, States have the power to apply to Congress to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing Constitutional Amendments. But is an Article V Convention really a fail-safe mechanism to control the federal government; and can Article V be used as a Trojan Horse by special interests to unravel the Constitution? While Article V is supposed to limit the scope of a convention to avoid a “run away convention” what might happen if there are proposed amendments no one imagined? When the Constitution was written, there were not huge numbers of lobbyists representing billion-dollar U.S. and foreign corporations and U.S. government to exert influence on elected representatives, to changes U.S. Laws to suit their interests as there are now. It would be (naïve) to think corporate and government lobbyists won’t influence the Amendments proposed at a Constitutional Convention. Today having any kind of Constitutional Convention is like throwing dice you don’t know what might come up in the way of Amendments. The safest avenue is not Call a Constitutional Convention.

Comment by Dracula Tepish
Entered on:

heres the thing if a con con is held there is the chance the govt has some well paid flunkies  in it to screw that up and destroy the constitution and another thing is this for some reason we dont need a con con and why is that lets start with the fact when sheriff mack went to court to defeat the brady bill the supreme coirt handed down a decision that said that the rights of the states and people over rule any illegal laws by the govt even the dumb presidential orders are null void 

but it is up to us to take back the govt even if it has to be by force

since our duty to GOD YHWH IS TO TEAR DOWN TYRANTS AND THERE TREASONOUS ACTS AGAINST WE THE PEOPLE IS ALL

AND THAT IS DECLARED IN THE CONSTITUTION AS WELL IF NO REDRESS OF GREIVANCES THAN THE SECOND AMENDMENT STEPS IN WE DO WHAT IS DECLARED THERE NO IFS ANDS OR BUTTS TO IT


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