washingtonpost.com
Notable passages of Constitution left out of reading in the House

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 6, 2011; 2:49 PM

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

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 A portion of Article 2, Section 1 - governing the Electoral College - was superseded by the 12th Amendment.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

Left out: "In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected."

6. Return of escaped slaves. A section of Article 4 previously required that escaped "persons held to service or labour" should not be freed, but returned to servitude. This provision was nullified by the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery.

Left out: "No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due."

7. Prohibition. The entire 18th Amendment, which established Prohibition, was repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Left out:

"Section 1.

After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.

The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress."

Post a Comment


Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company