Rejected Amendments to the Federal Constitution

 

The following list of proposed amendments to the federal constitution that were made during the process of ratification.Nearly all the proposals that follow were made in the various state ratifying conventions during 1787-1788.Many were drafted by delegates at these conventions who voted in favor of ratification with the understanding that the constitution would immediately be amended to include a bill of rights.Others were drafted by delegates at these conventions who opposed ratification because, among other reasons, these delegates and their constituents wanted to change the nature of federal authority.Each of the bills of rights proposed by the delegates included some version of the ten amendments that eventually became the Bill of Right.What follows are amendments that didnít make it into the final version and alternative wording of a few of the provisions designed to clarify and strengthen the right (for example freedom of religion).As you read these proposed amendments, think about the right being proposed and why the founding elite decided to reject them.

 

On Monopolies and Corporations:

 

That Congress erect no Company of Merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.

 

That the Congress do not grant Monopolies or erect any Company with exclusive Advantages of Commerce.

 

That no man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate public emoluments or privileges from the community.

 

On Standing Army:

 

That standing Armies in time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in Cases of necessity; and that at all times, the Military should be under strict Subordination to the civil Power.

 

That no standing army shall be kept up in time of peace, unless with the consent of two thirds of the members present of each branch of Congress.

 

That no standing Army shall be Kept up in time of Peace unless with the consent of three fourths of the Members of each branch of Congress, nor shall Soldiers in Time of Peace be quartered upon private Houses without the consent of the Owners.

 

On Federal Control Over State Militias:

 

That the Militia of any State shall not be compelled to serve without the limits of the State for a longer term than six weeks, without the Consent of the Legislature thereof.

 

That each state, respectively, shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining its own militia whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion or rebellion: And when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be subject only to such fines, penalties, and punishments as shall be directed or inflicted by the laws of its own state.

 

The power of putting the militia under the terrors of martial law in time of peace, or of marching them, perhaps, to destroy the freedom of an oppressed sister state, without any check or control from the state governments, stand also in absolute need of revision and amendments.

 

On Freedom of Religion:

 

That no person conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, in any case, shall be compelled personally to serve as a soldier.

 

That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.

 

That there be no national religion established by law; but that all persons be equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.

 

That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others.

 

On Federal Taxation:

 

When Congress shall lay direct taxes or excises, they shall immediately inform the executive power of each state, of the quota of such State, according to the census herein directed, which is proposed to be thereby raised: And if the legislature of any state shall pass a law, which shall be effectual for raismg such quota at the time required by Congress, the taxes and excises laid by Congress shall not be collected in such state.

 

That Congress may not be vested with the power of levying internal direct taxes upon the citizens of any state, unless when such state proves obstinately delinquent; nor even then to have the power of levying poll taxes as they are in their nature unequal and always oppressive, as they go to tax not only the poor individuals, but the poor and remote counties equal with the more wealthy and more valuable situations.

 

On Term Limits:

 

That no Person be eligible as a Senator for more than six years in any term of twelve years.

That no Person shall be eligible to the Office of President of the United States a third time.

That no person shall be capable of being president of the United States for more than eight years in any term of sixteen years.

 

On the Right of Protest and Revolution:

 

That Congress shall not declare any state to be in rebellion without the consent of at least two-thirds of all the members present of both houses.

 

That it be declared, that all persons intrusted with the legislative or executive powers of government are the trustees and servants of the public; and, as such, accountable for their conduct. Wherefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to, reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.