Amending America

More than anything else, the history of constitutional amendments is a history of expanding rights and democracy. Seventeen of the 27 ratified amendments secure or expand individual rights. Some proposed amendments would limit or remove individual rights, but none of these have ultimately been successful.

Our Rights explores:

The Bill of Rights

Our first 10 amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, secure the fundamental rights that Americans believe belong to all free people. They attempt to balance majority rule with minority rights.

Why a Bill of Rights?

The Vote

Five ratified amendments granting suffrage—the ability to vote—have brought new voters into our constitutional foundation of “We the People,” but the right to vote still isn’t guaranteed to all Americans.

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Equality

The Declaration of Independence stated that “all men are created equal.” Those words inspired several proposed amendments dedicated to renewing our nation’s commitment to this principle.

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