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  • Writer's pictureAli Assareh

Today in Legal History: The C College Paper that Changed the US Constitution! (Dec 5, 1933)

Today, on Dec 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution ended the ban on selling or importing alcohol, thus ending the "Prohibition" era, which had begun 14 years earlier.

Overall, the US Constitution has been amended 27 times since 1789. That's one amendment per 8.5 years. But that's misleading, because the first 10 amendments (the "Bill of Rights") were ratified shortly after the Constitution's adoption. If we exclude those, that's one amendment per 13.5 years.

"So where's the amendment in my lifetime," you may ask? Well, I was shocked to find out today that the latest amendment - the 27th Amendment - was ratified in 1992, even though it was proposed by the very 1st Congress, in 1789!

The amendment was largely forgotten until 1982, when 19-year old Gregory Watson wrote a college paper claiming that it could still be ratified. When Gregory received pushback from his teachers, and apparently a grade he was unhappy with, he launched a nationwide campaign to ratify the amendment, actually leading to ratification in 1992 - a record-setting 203 years later!!!

Wow!!! Talk about turning challenges into opportunities!

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