IP-7-2010 (December 2010)
Author: Robert G. Natelson
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Americans increasingly are realizing they have lost control of their federal government. Not only has that government broken nearly all constitutional restraint, but it
has saddled future generations with deficits and a debt of third-world proportions. Citizens have attempted various strategies to recover their government with only indifferent success. But they have not yet triggered the constitutional tool the Founders intended to be used in such crises: Amending the Constitution to save it, using the state-application-and- convention process.
The Founders included in the Constitution two methods of proposing amendments to the states for ratification: proposal by Congress and proposal by a “convention for proposing amendments”—essentially a drafting committee designed to put into acceptable form amendments suggested by the state legislatures. As this paper shows, the Founders included the latter method to enable the people to correct the system when Congress was unwilling or unable to do so.