Proposing Constitutional Amendments by Convention: Rules Governing the Process

58 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2011 Last revised: 4 Jan 2012

See all articles by Robert G. Natelson

Robert G. Natelson

Independence & Montana Policy Institutes

Date Written: August 3, 2011


Much of the mystery surrounding the Constitution’s state-application and – convention amendment process is unnecessary: History and case law enable us to resolve most questions. This Article is the first in the legal literature to access the full Founding-Era record on the subject, including the practices of inter-colonial and interstate conventions held during the 1770s and 1780s. Relying on that record, together with post-Founding practices, understandings, and case law, this Article clarifies the rules governing applications and convention calls, and the roles of legislatures and conventions in the process. The goal of the Article is objective exposition rather than advocacy or special pleading.

Keywords: constitution, constitutional law, amendments, constitutional amendments, constitutional convention, original understanding, original meaning, original intent, convention for proposing amendments, Founding Era, Founders, Article V

JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Natelson, Robert G., Proposing Constitutional Amendments by Convention: Rules Governing the Process (August 3, 2011). Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 78, p. 693, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)

Independence & Montana Policy Institutes ( email )

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)


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