Unintended Consequences of Constitutional Amendment

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David E. Kyvig
University of Georgia Press, 2000 - Political Science - 260 pages
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Constitutional amendments, like all laws, may lead to unanticipated and even undesired outcomes. In this collection of original essays, a team of distinguished historians, political scientists, and legal scholars led by award-winning constitutional historian David E. Kyvig examines significant instances in which reform produced something other than the foreseen result. An opening essay examines the intentions of the Constitution’s framers in creating an amending mechanism and then explores unexpected uses of that instrument. Thereafter, authors focus on the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, addressing such subjects as criminal justice procedures, the presidential election system, the Civil War’s impact on race and gender relations, the experiment in national prohibition, women’s suffrage, and, finally, limits on the presidency.

Together these contributions illuminate aspects of constitutional stability and evolution, challenging current thinking about reform within the formal system of change provided by Article V of the Constitution. Forcefully demonstrating that constitutional law is not immune to unanticipated consequences, the eight scholars underscore the need for care, responsibility, and historical awareness in altering the nation’s fundamental law.


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Introduction David E Kyvig
The Bill of Rights and Criminal Procedure
The Twelfth Amendment David P Currie
Unintended Consequences of the Fourteenth
Race Class Gender and the Unintended Consequences
The Unintended Consequences of the Nineteenth
Afterword David E Kyvig
List of Contributors

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About the author (2000)

David E. Kyvig is a professor of history at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of Repealing National Prohibition and Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution, 1776-1995, which received the 1997 Bancroft and Henry Adams Prizes.

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