Featured Exhibition in the National Archives Museum's Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery
Only 27 times—out of more than 11,000 proposals—have Americans reached consensus to amend the Constitution.
It is difficult—but not impossible—to turn an idea into an amendment. So few amendments have been successful because our Constitution sets a high bar to pass amendments. So, what kinds of proposals achieve enough support to become a ratified amendment?
We have amended our Constitution to reshape fundamental rights, key legal powers, or elemental government structure. We have expanded voting through amendments to broaden participation. We have guaranteed our rights to experience more freedom. We have improved the structure of our government to be more secure.
We amend not only to solve current problems. We amend when Americans share an understanding of an essential concern that affects us all. We amend so that We the People can create a more perfect Union. When we add new ideas to our fundamental governing charter—our Constitution—we are Amending America.
Amending America is presented in part by
Lawrence F. O’Brien Family
Past Featured Exhibits
“Spirited Republic” is the National Archives Museum’s latest special exhibition, and explores the role of the government and alcohol in American society.
Dating back to the documents listing the wine that Lewis & Clark took on their expedition — and the spirits George Washington and his generals... Read more
Some of the Presidents attended neighborhood public schools, and some of them learned in rural classrooms; others studied under tutors and attended prestigious private schools. Many of the Presidents participated in extracurricular activities and organized sports while they attended school.
The challenges of studying various subjects, completing... Read more
In the spring of 2003, just days after Coalition forces took over Baghdad, 16 American soldiers assigned to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons entered Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building. In the basement, under four feet of water, they found thousands of books and documents... Read more
Lee Puey You was detained on Angel Island for 20 months before being deported under the Chinese Exclusion Act; 20 years after her first landing in America, she succeeded in becoming a U.S. citizen. Young Rock Fee was placed aboard a ship and deported to China after immigration officials... Read more