MORE THAN 10,000 AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN PROPOSED TO THE US CONSTITUTION SINCE 1789. Some of them worked out pretty well, while others… Well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing the Founding Fathers were not familiar with the term “no backsies.”
Some proposed amendments were so batshit crazy that you would think Michele Bachmann helped draft them. Presented for your consideration, here are a few of them.
5. The Corwin Amendment
Proposed as an absolute, last-ditch effort to prevent the Confederate states from exploding into Civil War, the Corwin Amendment, proposed by Ohio’s Representative Thomas Corwin in 1861, amounted to little more than the surrender of the North on the issue of slavery to the South. The proposal read: “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State,” effectively guaranteeing slavery and promising that the Union would never speak to Lady Liberty again.
As far as crazy amendments go, this one actually pretty damn close to becoming real. The Senate voted to adopt the law 24 to 12 in March 1861, Abraham Lincoln spoke positively of it in his inaugural, and the departing president James Buchanan even signed it before he left. However, since at this point the South was so determined to preserve slavery that they were willing to lose a Civil War over it, the amendment was shelved until 1864.
4. The anti-miscegenation amendment
Although Congressman Seaborn Roddenbery of Georgia was not the first ass to take a crack at anti-miscegenation, his H.J. Res 368 was proposed in 1913 after—no joke—heavyweight boxing champ Jack Johnson successfully defended his title against a white guy.
To make matters worse, pictures like this were a reminder to how bad the South lost the Civil War.
Despite enjoying the enthusiastic support of racists, bigots and village idiots throughout the South, the motion failed and Rep. Roddenbery eventually died of throat cancer a few months later. As for the debate of whether interracial marriages would remain legal everywhere, it would take another 55 years and a freaking Supreme Court decision before the nation was officially notified that it had better things to do.
3. The $1 Million Amendment
Proposed by Wesley Lloyd of Washington in 1933, this amendment was the kind of thing that even Occupy Wall Street would have probably found excessive. The idea was simple enough: “limit annual incomes to $1 million,” which we are pretty sure would have spurred everybody with more than $1 million in the bank to pool their funds and hire a private army to conquer Washington. After all, the bill didn’t pass and the then-1 percent tried that anyway.
“Only $1 million? What a jip!”
2. The “United States of the Earth” Amendment
There have been two notable attempts to officially rename the United States of America, one significantly more stupid than the other. The first was a motion in 1866 to drop this whole ‘United States’ business and rename the nation ‘America,’ which is not too surprising when you consider the goddamn Civil War the nation had just been fighting over states’ rights.
Yup, states’ rights. Such as slavery.
The other attempt, however, proposed by Lucas M. Miller of Wisconsin in 1893 would have officially changed the name of the nation to something more befitting Futurama: ‘The United States of the Earth.’
We understand something like this in the 31st century, but in 1893? Ridiculous.
1. The “Almighty God” Amendment
Rep. Elijah A. Morse (R-MA).
A Hail Mary in every sense of the term, H.Res.120 of the 53rd Congress, 2nd session went straight for the jugular of what the United States was all about. Specifically, by rewriting the preamble to the Constitution to read as follows:
“We the people of the United States, devoutly acknowledging the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and nations, grateful to Him for our civil and religious liberty; and encouraged by the assurances of His Word to invoke His guidance, as a Christian nation, according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice,” etc., etc…
That’s right. If enacted, this amendment would have essentially transformed the United States into one enormous church in the same breath that it touted religious liberty with. In short, we would have been Jesusland, only for real and without the blue states.