If you want to learn a lot more about an Article V Convention after reading this introduction, click the link at the end to go to our advanced site.
What is FOAVC?
The Friends of AVC (FOAVC) is a NONPARTISAN group dedicated to promoting an amendments convention which will amend the U.S. Constitution in ways that improve our governance structure and bring it into the 21st century.
What is the U.S. Constitution ?
(The following text is from http://www.history.com/topics/constitution; authored by History.com Staff, published 2009 by A+E Networks, accessed March 01, 2017):
“The U.S. Constitution established America’s national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens. It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, presided over by George Washington.
Under America’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, the national government was weak and states operated like independent countries. At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches–executive, legislative and judicial–along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power.
The Bill of Rights–10 amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections such as freedom of speech and religion–became part of the Constitution in 1791. To date, there have been a total of 27 constitutional amendments.”
What is an Article V Convention?
The U.S. Constitution begins with the famous preamble, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union...” and goes on to state that it establishes “justice”, provides for “common defence”, promotes “general Welfare”, and secures “Blessings of Liberty”. The Preamble establishes our government as a government of the people.
The preamble is followed by seven chapters (Articles) that establish the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government (“checks and balances”) and describe federal versus state powers.
Of the seven Articles, Article V describes procedures for amending the U.S. Constitution. Amendments allow for changes that affect basic governance principles of this nation as expressed in the Constitution. The 27 amendments that have passed to date include the Bill of Rights mentioned above. They also include giving women and 18-year-olds the right to vote, establishing the income tax, and other principles used to make laws.
Participants to the 1787 Convention who wrote the original U.S. Constitution and Article V included two possible ways to change (amend) the Constitution: (1) Congress can propose an amendment, and (2) a convention of the people can be called by Congress if 2/3 of the state legislatures request an Article V Convention (AVC).
How is a Convention Called, and how is an amendment passed?
The U.S. Constitution’s Article V describes the process of calling a convention. When 2/3 of state legislatures submit applications to the U.S. Congress, it is the duty of Congress to call the AVC. Currently there are enough applications to call 11 AVCs!
Amendments are proposed at the AVC and discussed and debated by delegates elected by the people in the same congressional districts which elect members of Congress. It requires approval of 2/3 of the state delegations at the convention voting as states (one state, one vote) to propose an amendment. All amendment proposals require consent by either 3/4 of the state legislatures, or by 3/4 of conventions of the people, called ‘state ratification conventions’ before becoming part of the Constitution. As of today, 2/3 of our 50 states is 34 states; 3/4 is 38 states.
The required number of State legislatures have called for a convention several times. Congress has ignored these calls and not even counted the applications, until recently. More detail on states that have called for a convention is shown on the main page of the FOAVC website.
Why an Article V Convention?
If you just want government to remain the same as before except for new people carrying it out, use our election process (Article II and Amendments 12 and 23). If you want to create permanent changes in governance, use the amendment process described in Article V.
Politics as usual, unrepresentative government, over regulation, inequality, unbalanced powers, and other governance issues of our times can be addressed through an Article V Convention. This convention gives you the chance to make changes. We as citizens elect or run as delegates who will participate in the national debate. Together, we decide how this country will be run and what principles will prevail.
What about all the rumors I’ve heard concerning an Article V Convention?
remember this: it's your right to make changes. All
the people for and against having a
convention want you to support what is their political agenda. You need to make up your own mind about the
value of an AVC, which is why the FOAVC website exists. We
give you the public record and the facts; you
decide what kind of a convention it will be and work with your fellow
citizens to bring that about.
Application: An application is the formal term used in Article V to describe the petition submitted by the state legislatures to Congress for a convention call. The application is the sole authority state legislatures have in the AVC. The choice to elect convention delegates is made by the people and thus not controlled by the state legislatures. Legislatures can therefore not control the agenda of the convention. Whatever the people decide in convention to propose as an amendment is transmitted to Congress to begin the ratification process.
Runaway Convention: A myth created by convention opponents suggesting that in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was illegally proposed as instructions given by Congress were disobeyed when the Convention was called. This myth is disproved by public record presented on the FOAVC website.
The withdrawal of an application previously sent to the U.S. Congress
by the state legislature calling
for an AVC. Rescissions are
reality illegal and unconstitutional. Documentation
of the public record showing
this illegality is found on the FOAVC website.
Thank you for taking the time to read this brief overview about an Article V Convention. If you want more details, proceed to our regular site or refer to our Packets Page for brief answers to specific questions.
Page Last Updated: 9-APRIL 2017