MARCH 31: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) (L-R), and other Senate Republicans hold a news conference to announce a proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in the U.S. Capitol on March 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. The measure is part of an attempt to bring under control the country's $14 trillion debt. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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There have been 27 amendments to our Constitution in the 239, soon to be 240, years of American history.

Many people are familiar with a few of them. The First Amendment guarantees free speech and practice of religion, the second covers the right to keep and bear arms.

The fifth, you have the right to remain silent and so on. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery.

The 27th and last Constitutional Amendment happened in 1992. It limited the ability of members of Congress from voting on their own raises.

If they voted a raise it would not take effect until after the next House of Representatives election when some of them might not be there to get it.

What Amendments Didn’t Make The Cut?

One Constitutional Amendment that was first introduced in 1989 and has been on the senate committee agenda consistently is the repeal of the 22nd Amendment.

That amendment says that the president of the United States is restricted to two four-year terms in office.

Many partisan politicians wanted Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to be able to serve more than 8 years.

Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and this action has always died before ever making it out of committee.

In fact Rep. José Serrano once again introduced H.J.Res. 15 proposing an Amendment to repeal the 22nd Amendment, as he has done every two years since 1997. He alone should be the poster child for congressional term limits.

Others who have introduced this same amendment would be Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Howard Berman, and Sen. Harry Reid.

Amendments In Process But Not Ratified By The States Yet

The required number of states has not ratified six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states.

Four of these, including one of the twelve Bill of Rights amendments, are still technically open and pending.

The other two amendments are closed and no longer pending, one by terms set within the Congressional Resolution proposing it (†) and the other by terms set within the body of the amendment (‡).

Would strictly regulate the size of congressional districts for representation in the House of Representatives.

Would strip citizenship from any United States citizen who accepts a title of nobility from a foreign country.

Would make "domestic institutions" (which in 1861 implicitly meant slavery) of the states impervious to the constitutional amendment procedures enshrined within Article Five of the United States Constitution and immune to abolition or interference even by the most compelling Congressional and popular majorities.

Would empower the federal government to regulate child labor.

  • Equal Rights Amendment (Ratification period, March 22, 1972 to March 22, 1979/June 30, 1982, amendment failed (†); ratified by 35 states)

Would have prohibited deprivation of equality of rights (discrimination) by the federal or state governments on account of sex.

Would have granted the District of Columbia full representation in the United States Congress as if it were a state, repealed the 23rd Amendment and granted the District full representation in the Electoral College system in addition to full participation in the process by which the Constitution is amended.

(Source: List of proposed amendments to the United States Constitution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://ow.ly/NcXOx)

Some Final Thoughts

Over the years some 11,539 ideas for amending our Constitution have been presented between 1789 and 2013.

Virtually all died in committee and only 27 became actual amendments, including the Bill of Rights.

It’s not an easy task to amend our Constitution and that’s a good thing in my opinion. It should be difficult to change the protections of citizens and our fundamental rights.

What amendments would you like to make to our constitution? Comment Below.

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