Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Jeffrey Dudas; Matthew Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


American Politics | Constitutional Law | Courts


Hundreds of Constitutional revisions are proposed in our national legislature every year, yet only twenty-seven have been ratified as amendments in the 243-year history of the United States. The Constitution outlines the formal factors required to ratify an amendment, but this paper will focus on the informal factors that are integral to the eventual passage of a participatory amendment. Through case studies of the Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments, this thesis examines the factors that contributed to the ratification of these amendments to find similarities in the circumstances that helped propel these bills to eventual adoption as amendments. Non-radical social movements, participation in war efforts, and backlash against radical protests emerge as some important factors conducive to the ratification of such amendments. Although not necessary or sufficient, these factors shed light on the ratification process and what it takes for a participatory amendment to be ratified.