Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 51 - 51 of 53

Question 51


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Discuss amendment procedure of the US constitution.


One of the essential features of any Federalism is the rigidity of the constitution. This US Government fulfills this requirement to a remarkable degree. Article 5 of the constitution lays down a very cumbersome and difficult procedure for its amendment. There are two methods by which amendments can be effected. They are brought out as follows:

  • Amendments may be proposed by the two-thirds majority in each House of the Congress. It must be ratified by three-fourths of the total number of states. The ratification may be done either by state legislatures or by special conventions held in the states for this purpose. The mode of the ratification is to be determined by the congress.

  • The States themselves may take the initiative in proposing amendments. If two-thirds of all the legislatures apply to the Congress for this purpose, the congress calls a constitutional convention which shall, on the basis of the original recommendation, propose the amendments. The amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of all the states either through their legislature or at specially convened conventions. The mode of the ratification is to be determined by the congress.

  • Out of the twenty-six Amendments which have been effected so far, all but one have been initiated by the Congress and ratified by the state legislatures, i. e. , congress proposed them and submitted them for ratification to the state legislatures. Only the twenty-first Amendment which repealed the eighteenth Amendment, (which had enforced prohibition) was ratified by conventions in the state.

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