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Notable passages of Constitution left out of reading in the House

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And on the second day of Republican rule, the House reads the Constitution. Volunteers gave voice to the seven articles and 27 amendments that make up the nation's governing document on Thursday.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 6, 2011; 2:49 PM

Notable passages left out: (Text taken from the National Archives' official Constitution site).

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1. The Three-Fifths Compromise. The Founding Fathers, seeking to appease slave states, found a compromise that tacitly allowed slavery without writing the word into the Constitution. It wrote that representatives would be parceled out among states based on a count of free people, and three-fifths of "other Persons." That was understood to mean slaves.

That provision's impact was nullified by the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery.

Left out, from Article 1, Section 2: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

2. Direct election of senators. The Constitution originally provided for senators to be elected by state legislatures, not directly by voters. That was changed by the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913.

Left out, from Article 1, Section 3 (set off by asterisks): "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, **chosen by the Legislature thereof** for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Later, left out from same section: " . . . and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies."

3. Date of Congress's first meeting. Article 1, Section 4 established the first day of Congress's session as the first Monday in December. Later, the 20th Amendment moved it to the first part of January.

Left out: "The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day."

4. Changes to presidential elections. A portion of Article 2, Section 1 - governing the Electoral College - was superseded by the 12th Amendment.

Left out: "The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President."

5. Presidential succession. A portion of Article 2, Section 1 - governing presidential succession - was altered by the 25th Amendment.


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