Robert G. Natelson, Founding-Era Conventions and the Meaning of the Constitution’s “Convention for Proposing Amendments”

65 Fla. L. Rev. 615 (2013) |

 Robert G. Natelson

Prof. Natelson

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, two thirds of state legislatures may require Congress to call a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” Because this procedure has never been used, commentators frequently debate the composition of the convention and the rules governing the application and convention process. However, the debate has proceeded almost entirely without knowledge of the many multi-colony and multi-state conventions held during the eighteenth century, of which the Constitutional Convention was only one. These conventions were governed by universally-accepted convention practices and protocols. This Article surveys those conventions and shows how their practices and protocols shaped the meaning of Article V.

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