The English justice system has a certain style.
“The English justice system has a certain style”

The Anti-Title Amendment: This amendment, submitted to the States in the 11th Congress (in 1810), said that any citizen who accepted or received any title of nobility from a foreign power, or who accepted without the consent of Congress any gift from a foreign power, by would no longer be a citizen. There is some debate about whether this amendment was actually ratified or not, mostly by those who put forth the fanciful notion that if it had been, most (if not all) legislators who are lawyers, and who use the title “Esquire” would no longer be citizens, and hence, no longer be able to serve in Congress. This amendment is still outstanding. (Information refuting claims of ratification can be found here. A refutation of this refutation can be found here.) Congressional research shows that the amendment was ratified by twelve states, the last being in 1812.”

What Does the Title ‘Esquire’ Mean, Anyway?
by Dan Nosowitz  /  February 3, 2021

“…The extensive intricacies of British titling, and the power those titles conferred (and to a lesser extent, still confer), have left a lasting residue in some of the empire’s former colonies … One of the weirder movements in modern American political action attempted to attack a title so vigorously that it would have essentially collapsed the entire history of the American government. The movement didn’t succeed, because it was both factually wrong and wildly misguided, but it was wrong in a really interesting way.

It relied on the title “Esquire,” which is one of the more common but most unusual ways a person can ask to be addressed. That movement, born from the right-wing conspiracy forums of the early internet, purported that there was a “missing” Thirteenth Amendment that would have made the current Thirteenth (which abolished slavery) actually the Fourteenth. This phantom amendment, called the Titles of Nobility Amendment, was written in 1810. By law then, and now, the American government cannot bestow titles of nobility in the way that the English government once named new dukes or barons.

The brief text of the amendment would have made these existing prohibitions even stronger: Any American who accepted a title of nobility or honor from a foreign government would be forbidden to hold office, and would be stripped of citizenship. In 1983, a conspiracy theorist and researcher named David Dodge found an 1825 copy of the U.S. Constitution in the Belfast Library in Maine. The copy included that Thirteenth Amendment, and Dodge wrote several articles about it that made some rather assumptive leaps.

Those leaps were: 1) The amendment had been legally enacted. 2) “Esquire” is a title of nobility. 3) “Esquire” also refers to lawyers. 4) The amendment rescinds the citizenship and the right to hold office from anyone with a title of nobility. Therefore, no lawyers have, since 1810, been allowed to serve in government or even hold citizenship. Therefore, given that over half of the country’s presidents and a huge percentage of its elected officials have been lawyers, everything you thought about this country’s history is a gigantic sham. At least that’s what Dodge argued. It amounted to a huge attack on perceived elitism, and has been wielded repeatedly, though never effectively, as a weapon against Democrats.

In 2010, the Republican party of Iowa attempted to include recognizing the missing Thirteenth Amendment as part of its platform, meant in this case to remove then–President Obama from office. Obama did pass the Illinois bar exam, making him a lawyer, and had also received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, which would, if you follow the odd logic to its totally illogical conclusion, have disqualified him for the office of president. There’s something of a libertarian and populist bent to it. Jol A. Silversmith, a lawyer who works primarily with aviation law, took a side interest in this whole conspiracy business when he was in law school.

“The right-wing groups are factually wrong, but did latch onto the fact that this was a very poorly documented amendment,” he says. Silversmith wrote a definitive article on it in the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal in 1999, debunking just about everything in the conspiracy theory. For one thing, the amendment was never ratified by enough of the states to be enacted. It was printed in some legal texts as though it had been ratified, but Silversmith writes that, due to a chaotic government (dealing with both new states and new wars) and poor communication infrastructure, there were frequent misprintings and uncertainty about what exactly was and was not in the Constitution. The other fascinating part of this whole saga is the assertion that “Esquire” is a term of nobility in the first place, and its one-to-one connection with the legal profession.

When we talk about “titles of nobility,” the sort that the failed Thirteenth Amendment was trying to block, we’re talking about titles conferred on a person by a government, not by trade. The term “Esquire” comes to the United States from medieval Europe, and more directly from the United Kingdom, a place absolutely mad for nobility and titles, though admittedly less now than it used to be. The governments of the countries that make up the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) have the power to confer a wide variety of titles on their subjects. And there’s a pretty wide variety of ways the United Kingdom and its imperial predecessors could bestow these signs of nobility.

The peerage system creates an aristocratic network of families outside the royal family; those might, at different points in history, come with an obligation to supply military forces to the king, or with a seat in government. Titles in the peerage system include duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. They are historically passed down to future generations, as fans of Bridgerton or Downton Abbey well know. Go down a level and you get to those who have lesser titles granted by the government, generally referred to as “Sir” or “Dame.” There are the baronets, who are kind of a weird outlier, given that they’re referred to as “Sir” as well, but also pass that title to eldest sons. They’re the gibbons of the aristocracy—not really a great ape like the chimpanzee, but certainly not a monkey.

“The Court of the King’s Bench, Westminster, 1804″

Another step down is the knights. Prior to around 1000, the word “knight,” or its equivalents such as knægtkneht, and cniht, had no noble connotation; it just referred to a professional soldier. The best of those soldiers were sometimes given land or money by lords, and slowly they began to enter noble society. If a lord wanted to hire a bunch of mercenaries to defend or attack or invade, knights could provide that, at a cost. Eventually the social distinction between the two was fairly slim. Knights, after all, had to be wealthy and command their own soldiers.

During the Crusades, as roving bands of knights became a social problem, the Catholic Church embarked on a quest to set up some kind of social restraint through a chivalric code. It worked, kind of. Knights weren’t restrained, exactly, but some did acquire wealth and social status. During the 13th century, the role and position of knighthood really changed as the ideal of chivalry took hold. Knights became an elevated class of their own. This is where esquires come into play.

The word itself derives from Old French, and in turn from Latin, where it means something like “shield-holder.” In the 1200s and 1300s in England, a variety of languages were used, so such figures might be referred to as the Latin armiger (“arms-holder,”) or scutifer (“shield-bearer”), or the French escuier, which became “esquire.” These terms all refer to roughly similar people. This role was generally considered moderately prestigious for young men of some wealth, but at its core it was a service job. You carry a knight’s stuff, tend to his horses, that kind of thing. “Esquire” and “squire” were names for the same gig for a few hundred years.

“A medieval knight and squire, as described in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales”

In 1363, the esquire’s place as a respectable social rank was codified in the Sumptuary Laws, which were essentially a huge list of what different groups of people could and could not wear. That list included esquires as a social group, alongside gentlemen and anyone else below the level of knight who actually had money and land. This was the same time that the idea of a gentry emerged in England: People who are not noble, but certainly not peasants, either. They were people worthy of being ranked above somebody in the social hierarchy. So esquire had come to suggest moderate respectability with a dash of prestigious servitude.

By the 1500s, knighthood no longer necessarily had any connection to soldiering and had begun to be used simply as an honorific, a nice title a sovereign could hand out to pals. A similar process occurred for esquire, and divorced it from its roots. By 1586, a writer named John Ferne had already described the term as basically meaningless and kind of annoying, used by rich guys who wanted to seem noble-adjacent. Successive writers tried to pin down what it actually meant, with no great success. Ferne, who was himself also a lawyer, noted that it was often used by those in the legal profession. Later definitions suggest someone adjacent to power, maybe the son of a knight or the younger son of a titled noble who would receive no other title of his own.

But also, consistently, it included someone in a legal profession: a justice of the peace, a barrister, a sergeant-at-law. It was never recorded, explicitly, why this might be. “Esquire” soon migrated across the Atlantic. Virginia’s Colonial Council, which held meetings just before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, used a variety of noble-sounding but not actually noble titles for its members, including “The Honourable” and, of course, “Esquire.” It also continued to be used for law-adjacent Americans; such as a justice-of-the-peace esquire from 1797. Over the following two centuries, “Esquire” began to fade in the United Kingdom. In the 20th century, the country slowed and then stopped giving out hereditary titles; the last one granted was in 1990.*

Social changes—immigration, new forms of wealth besides land ownership, fame and adulation going to entertainers and athletes instead of merely the obscenely wealthy—left the aristocracy intact, and rich as hell, but no longer at the forefront of social consciousness. “Esquire,” as it had become a term of straining toward nobility, became less useful. In the United States, though, it persisted, specifically in its connection with the legal profession. This profession is largely state-regulated, and most states don’t really care about the use of the term by people in or out of the profession. Some states have penalized people for it, though. In California, Arizona, and the District of Columbia, local bar associations have penalized or advised against any non-lawyer (or suspended lawyer) from appending “Esquire” to their names, as it may erroneously signal the capacity to practice law.

“It’s possible one or both of these men calls himself “Esquire.”

American lawyers all could call themselves “Esquire,” inasmuch as anyone can, and for lawyers it wouldn’t be misleading. But not many do. “There’s not a huge amount of debate, but when it does come up, there’s a sense that this is a kind of archaic term, it’s somewhat embarrassing,” says Silversmith. “It’s something where, in my personal experience, I would never use it. It would be horrifically pretentious to do that.” But lawyers, unlike doctors (medical or otherwise), have no other title-based way to signal what they do, or, to be somewhat uncharitable, that what they do is special, and therefore that who they are is important. Lawyers are simply not conferred a title when they pass the bar.

“Esquire” steps in there, but the very fact that it is optional conveys a sense of self-marketing that many lawyers may find unbecoming. That sense, though, is perfectly in line with how the term has always been used. Despite all these facts—that “Esquire” is not a title of nobility, that it does not necessarily refer to lawyers, and that the “missing” Thirteenth Amendment was never ratified in the first place—the anti-authoritarian cause still pops up from time to time. It is an early populist meme of the internet age, one that took root in message boards and forums, picking up some minor momentum despite being both impractical and wrong. Today, of course, when the power of these memes actually invaded the halls of American power, the arguments of the Thirteenthers seem almost quaint.”

*Correction: This article originally stated that the last hereditary title was granted in 1984. Another title was given, to Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher, in 1990.

The case of the missing 13th amendment to the Constitution
by Scott Bomboy  /  December 6, 2016

“A few years ago, a group of Iowa Republicans claimed the legitimate 13th Amendment to the Constitution was “missing.” The debate is part of a historical detective story with some surprising twists that is still taking place.The Daily Beast did a fairly extensive feature on the missing amendment in 2010, which didn’t feature a cloaked Freemason stealing the amendment because it had a secret treasure map printed on it. Instead, the debate between historians and conspiracy buffs is about an amendment that was almost ratified in 1812 that would have been the 13th Amendment, bumping back the current 13th Amendment–which was ratified on this day in 1865 and abolished slavery–to the position of the 14th Amendment.

Writer Jerry Adler’s 2010 explanation of the “Thirteenthers” controversy is pretty detailed and covers both sides of the issue—which isn’t new but got a big burst of publicity thanks to the Iowa GOP’s 2010 platform. The Iowa Republicans didn’t want the current 13th Amendment banned; they just wanted the “original” one reintroduced for approval. That “missing” proposal was called the “Titles of Nobility Amendment” (or TONA). It sought to ban any American citizen from receiving any foreign title of nobility or receiving foreign favors, such as a pension, without congressional approval. The penalty was loss of citizenship.

It was an extension of Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which doesn’t allow a public office holder to receive a foreign title or similar honors without the consent of Congress. Today, the idea of a constitutional controversy about the royals may seem kind of silly, but in 1812, the United States was fighting the British and had a rocky relationship with France. The fear of both nations using noble titles as bribes, along with pensions from a foreign government, was persistent. And both the Senate and the House easily passed the TONA and passed it on to the states. By late 1812, a total of 12 states had approved the 13th Amendment and ironically, it needed a 13th state to become ratified. As the War of 1812 escalated, the TONA faded away as an issue and was never ratified.

Or so we think. In the 1980s, Adler says a researcher started finding copies of the Constitution from the pre-Civil War era that had TONA listed as the 13th Amendment. The premise was that Virginia’s legislature had approved the amendment in 1819, but somehow, it was never listed as accepted by the federal government. Further research revealed that President James Monroe asked his Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, to confirm that the TONA was never ratified, which he did. A law journal article from 1999 by Jol A. Silversmith, an attorney, explains how the TONA appeared in widely published versions of the Constitution for more than 30 years, including the official United States Statutes at Large (an official compilation of laws published by the government in 1815).

His well-documented article of the “missing” amendment has more than 200 footnotes and a lot of interesting stories about how the Founding Fathers couldn’t keep track of new amendments they had just passed. As the story goes, the editor of the 1815 book of statutes, John Colvin, couldn’t determine if the TONA amendment has been ratified, so he included it in the book with an explanatory note. Then, an official version of the Constitution was given to Congressional members that included the TONA as the 13th Amendment, as an apparent misprint. That triggered a request for Monroe and Adams to verify that the amendment hadn’t been ratified.

The United States Statutes at Large wasn’t reprinted until 1845, so the mistake became part of textbooks, state publications, and newspapers, Silversmith said, for decades. So a whole generation of Americans lived during a time when the “phantom” 13th Amendment existed, in some publications. (And with any kind of luck, you can probably find a TONA version of the Constitution at a flea market.) Silversmith also said Virginia’s Senate rejected the TONA on February 14, 1811, based upon information in its records. But an official letter or note from the Virginia legislature couldn’t be found several years later.

“One of the last printings of the amendment, in the 1867 laws of Colorado”

But how could the Founding Fathers and their heirs become so confused by a handful of amendments? President John Adams waited three years to acknowledge the 11th Amendment as law, and it took Secretary of State James Madison (the “Father of the Constitution”) three months to recognize the 12th Amendment as an effective law. Part of the issue was the lack of a process for states to communicate to the federal government that they had voted in favor of an amendment. Also, the number of states kept changing, which added more confusion to the ratification process.

Today, TONA supporters have made several legal challenges to get the “original” 13th Amendment recognized. The issue hasn’t been taken up by the Supreme Court, and Silversmith wrote that a 2005 U.S. district court ruling said that based on Article V of the Constitution, the inclusion of TONA in published documents doesn’t make it an amendment. That hasn’t kept the debate over TONA off the Internet, as there are many websites that claim it is the legitimate 13th Amendment. And there is no expiration date for the TONA amendment, which means that it can be introduced to 35 more states that didn’t vote on it originally. It may seem that preposterous that an amendment from the early 1800s could still become a law today, but the 27th Amendment was proposed in 1789 and finally approved in 1992.”

Unratified Amendments: Titles of Nobility
by Jessie Kratz / January 30, 2020

“This is the second installment of a series about unratified constitutional amendments. Today we’re looking at an amendment proposed during the lead-up to the War of 1812 that sought to bar U.S. citizens from accepting titles of nobility.

“Section of the United States Constitution referencing titles of nobility, 9/17/1787. (National Archives Identifier 1667751)

The U.S. Constitution has a Titles of Nobility clause that prohibits the Federal Government from granting titles of nobility and restricts government officials from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices, or titles from foreign states without Congress’s consent. Also known as the “Emoluments Clause,” it was written to prevent Federal officeholders from being corrupted by foreign entities. However, it does not prevent all U.S. citizens from accepting titles of nobility from royalty and opens the door for such action with Congress’s consent.

“New York’s Ratification of the Constitution with proposed amendments, 7/26/1788. One of the proposed amendments strikes “without the Consent of the Congress” from the Titles of Nobility clause. (National Archives Identifier 24278854)”

During the Constitution’s ratification, several states proposed amendments that would either forbid Congress from granting consent or would have eliminated the “without the consent of Congress” clause. While the first Congress discussed the issue, it was not among the proposed amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights. In the lead-up to the War of 1812 with Great Britain, there was some anxiety about European influence on the United States’ nascent republic. In 1810, Senator Philip Reed of Maryland introduced a constitutional amendment modifying the Titles of Nobility Clause.

“Senate Report on the draft Titles of Nobility amendment, 1810. (Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives)”

In order for an amendment to pass Congress, both houses must approve it by two-thirds majority. On April 27, 1810, the Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 19–5, and on May 1, 1810, the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 87–3—both well above the necessary super majority. The final text of the amendment read:  “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”

The amendment was then sent to the state legislatures for ratification but never reached the three-fourths threshold to be added to the Constitution.  Had enough states ratified it, it would have become the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Because the amendment was passed before Congress began the practice of setting a time limit for ratification, the amendment technically can still be ratified if 38 states in total adopted it. Even though an insufficient number of states ratified the amendment, there was confusion over its status throughout the 19th century, and it appeared in a limited number of printed versions of the Statutes at Large, printed copies of the Constitution, and other publications.

“In 1817, the amendment appeared in copies of the Constitution printed for members Congress. Representative Weldon Nathaniel Edwards proposed a resolution on December 31, 1817, asking the President to provide the House with the number of states which have ratified the amendment.” (Annals of Congress, National Archives)

Because the Archivist of the United States has statutory responsibility to certify constitutional amendments, the National Archives looked into the issue in 1994. The Archives concluded it only has authority to determine whether sufficient notices of ratification have been received from three-fourths of the current number of states. Since the country has 50 states, 38 state ratifications would be needed for the amendment to become law.”

Why Some Want to ‘Restore’ the 13th Amendment
by Jerry Adler  /  Jul 26, 2010

“Return with us now to the tumultuous years leading up  to the War of 1812, when fear of “foreign influence”—by England or France, depending on whether you were a Republican or Federalist—was a dominating issue in American politics. Jerome Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon, had recently spent several years in the United States, where he married Elizabeth Patterson, the beautiful, ambitious daughter of a wealthy Baltimore merchant. In 1810, Jerome was on the throne of Westphalia, while Elizabeth was in America with their son, Jerome Napoleon. (The couple would never see each other again.)

According to historian Michael Vorenberg of Brown University, having a nephew of the emperor of France growing up on American soil might have made the pro-British Federalists uneasy, or, just as likely, suggested to them a way to tie the Republicans to the French Legion of Honor, the Trilateral Commission of its day. Desiring to get out in front of the issue—or possibly seeking to score points against the Federalists, who had their own embarrassing ties to the British aristocracy—Republican Sen. Philip Reed of Maryland introduced an amendment meant to strengthen the existing “emoluments clause” in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. This clause reads: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

Reed’s proposed amendment extended the ban from office-holders to “any citizen of the United States” and made the penalty loss of citizenship: “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.” Reed’s bill passed both houses easily, and as of Dec. 9, 1812, had been ratified by 12 states and seemed headed for adoption, at which point war intervened.

Here, histories diverge. The mainstream view is that the “Titles of Nobility Amendment” (TONA) never achieved the necessary 13 ratifications—three quarters of the 17 states as of 1810—and fell further behind as more states joined the union. That ought to have been the end of it, says Jol A. Silversmith, a lawyer in private practice who has written the definitive account of the “missing amendment.” And so it was until the 1980s, when a conspiracy-minded researcher named David Dodge came across an 1825 copy of the Constitution including this provision. Further research led Dodge to conclude that TONA had been ratified by Virginia no later than 1819 and was an accepted, if largely unnoted, part of the Constitution from then until its mysterious disappearance around the time of the Civil War.”

“The Amendment in the laws of Maine, published in 1825”

The Lost 13th Amendment
by Joshua Horn  / April 15, 2013

“Since the adoption of the United States Constitution twenty-seven amendments have been passed, and thousands more have been proposed. It may seem that it would be clear what exactly is the governing document of the United States, but some people argue that there is another “lost” amendment that was passed and is really part of the Constitution today. The missing amendment would have been the 13th, and it is called the Titles of Nobility Amendment. The early 1800s, when this amendment was proposed in Congress, was a tumultuous time in American history. The nation was unstable, as it had just been reorganized under the Constitution. There were fears of a foreign intervention, and it wouldn’t be long until the War of 1812 broke out.

It was these fears that prompted Democrat-Republican Senator Philip Reed of Maryland to propose this amendment: “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honor, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument, of any kind whatever, from any person, King, Prince or foreign Power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”1 The Constitution already banned any member of Congress from holding another office in the government. This amendment would expand this provision to prohibit any citizen from receiving any present, office or title from a foreign nation, and would punish them by stripping them of their citizenship. The Senate voted 19-5 to pass the amendment on April 26, 1810. Just a few days later, on May 1, the House approved it 87-3.

As the amendment had been passed by both houses of Congress, it could move on to the next step of the process – ratification by three quarters of the states, 13 of the 17 at the time. It is here that historical interpretations diverge. Everyone agrees that it was ratified by 12 states – Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is also clear that it was rejected by three states – New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The debate is over whether the amendment was ratified by Virginia and South Carolina. If it was approved by either of them, that would make 13 states for ratification. Both of these states took action on the amendment. The South Carolina Senate voted to ratify it on November 28, 1811, but the House of Representatives rejected it years later, on December 21, 1814. Virginia’s House of Delegates voted for it on February 2, 1811, but the Senate rejected it on February 14.

“The Capitol Destroyed”

Although there are no records today of these states passing the amendment in both houses, rumors began to spread at the time that the necessary 13 states had ratified it. Some records that may have clarified the issue were lost because the War of 1812 had begun. In 1814 the British captured Washington, DC, burning the White House, the Library of Congress, and other government buildings. Documents relating to the status of the amendment were lost forever. The government itself became confused.

In 1817, the U.S. House of Representatives asked President James Monroe to inquire into the status of the amendment’s ratification. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams investigated the matter and reported that 12 states had voted for the amendment and two against it. Letters were sent to the governors of Virginia, Connecticut and South Carolina asking about the status of the amendment in their states. In 1818 Adams reported that he received a letter from the governor of South Carolina that his state had rejected the amendment.

“John Quincy Adams”

This leaves only Virginia in question, and on its response would hang the entire question of the amendment. There are no records of a passage of the amendment by the Virginia legislature, or even correspondence between the governor and Adams. It would seem that the amendment had died one state short of ratification. But then on March 10, 1819, the Virginia legislature passed an act for the printing of the state’s laws, including the Constitution of the United States. In that printing of the Constitution is the 13th amendment, which from the records had not been ratified. But Virginia wasn’t the only state to print the 13th Amendment. Many 19th century printings of the Constitution contain the contested amendment. It can even be found in a printing by the Federal government of the Laws of the United States. On the other hand, in many printings it is missing. There was clearly confusion on the issue at the time.

“One of the last printings of the amendment, in the 1867 laws of Colorado”

Some argue that Virginia’s printing of the 13th Amendment in 1819 constituted a ratification. It is likely that the amendment’s inclusion was simply a clerical mistake, and that the Virginia legislature didn’t check the document carefully to ensure it was accurate. But even if the legislators intended the printing to be a ratification, a new problem is encountered. Between the passage of the amendment by Congress and the supposed ratification by Virginia in 1819, four more states had joined the Union, increasing the number of states necessary for ratification to 16.

Although the Constitution is silent as to whether states who join during the ratification process participate in the vote, they always have been counted. The votes of new states were counted even for the ratification of the first amendments, the Bill of Rights. So even if Virginia had approved the amendment in 1819, three more states would have been necessary. Although the argument that this 13th Amendment really is missing from the Constitution does not hold up to scrutiny with the evidence available today, its ratification is still possible. No expiration date was specified when the bill was passed by Congress. If a total of 38 states ratify the amendment today, it will become part of the Constitution.

1. House Journal. 1st Cong., 1st sess., 1 May 1810, 423.”


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