The Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse

Information about the fourteen U.S. states with periodic state constitutional convention referendums

U.S. Framers & Presidents

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.

George Washington, U.S. President, Farewell Address

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President (inscribed on Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC)

As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority… whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of government.

James Madison, U.S. President, Federalist 49

The Constitution was made for the people and not the people for the Constitution.

Teddy Roosevelt, U.S. President

Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U.S. President, Last Inaugural Address

[On the need for a provision in Article V of the U.S. Constitution������to convene a constitutional convention independent of the legislature] It would be improper to require the consent of the National Legislature, because they may abuse their power and refuse their consent on that very account.

George Mason, U.S. Framer of Article V

Scholars

Gordon Wood, Professor, Brown University

What has been the record of state constitutional conventions held in this country?  Ironically, the greatest charge leveled at constitutional conventions is not their inclination to experiment with change to propose extreme ideas or structures, but their conservatism. ��������An examination of the proposals originating from these conventions provide little or no support for the view that state constitutional conventions constitute a danger to the values that comprise the American constitutional tradition.

Peter Galie, Professor of Political Science, Canisius College