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US legislative efforts to abolish tipping

US legislative efforts to abolish tipping

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Viviana Zelizer claims that

In the early 1900s, as tipping became increasingly popular, it provoked great moral and social controversy. In fact, there were nationwide efforts, some successful, by state legislatures to abolish tipping by turning it into a punishable misdemeanor.

What exactly were these legislative efforts to turn tipping "into a punishable misdemeanor"? I'm especially interested in those efforts that were successful (and when and how any such laws were later repealed).

It seems 7 US states banned tipping as un-American. The all repealed by 1926.

The Case Against Tipping states that:

Tipping did not take off in America until later, possibly because the country did not have a servant class. In the late 1800s, affluent Americans who traveled (and tipped) in Europe, began tipping in the United States as well, to show that they had been abroad and were familiar with European customs. At first this was met with fierce opposition as fostering a master-servant relationship ill suited to a nation whose people were meant to be social equals. People opposed tipping so strongly that, between 1909 and 1918, seven states passed anti-tipping laws. All these laws, however, were repealed by 1926, when the concept slowly took off. Business owners began to lower the wages of employees until tips were needed to supplement their income, and people became accustomed to the practice as a way to ensure the livelihood of workers in the service industry

When tipping was considered deeply un-American

The tipping abolitionist campaign came to a boil in 1915, when three states (Iowa, South Carolina and Tennessee) passed anti-tipping laws, joining three other states (Washington, Mississippi, and Arkansas) that had already passed similar bills. Georgia soon followed. By 1926, however, all these anti-tipping laws were repealed, writes Segrave, largely because it was seen as futile to police something that had gained a momentum of its own.

9 Reasons We Should Abolish Tipping, Once And For All

Tipping is a strange, self-defeating phenomenon. The practice as we know it today has come to negate the very reason it exists: What started out as a reward for exceptional service has now become compulsory. "Tipping starts with people wanting to be generous, or to show off, but then it becomes something where people just do it because it's expected of them," says Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and marketing at Cornell University who has written more than 50 research papers on tipping. When we tip, we are essentially buying the right to avoid disapproval and guilt -- a uniquely first-world problem.

Still, tipping is a huge thing, accounting for around $44 billion in the U.S. food industry alone, according to the economist Ofer Azar. Polls show that Americans love to tip. "People like the power," says Sage Bierster, a waiter friend of mine who's been in the business for more than six years. But tipping brings with it a welter of problems: It's costly for taxpayers, it's often arbitrary (and even discriminatory) and it contributes to poverty among the waiters and waitresses who must grovel for our change to earn their living.

That's why I'm proposing that we abolish tipping. Just get rid of it entirely. Here are nine reasons to ban the begging bowls once and for all:

What the deleted passage said

In his initial draft, Jefferson blamed Britain’s King George for his role in creating and perpetuating the transatlantic slave trade—which he describes, in so many words, as a crime against humanity.

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.

Jefferson went on to call the institution of slavery “piratical warfare,” 𠇎xecrable commerce” and an 𠇊ssemblage of horrors.” He then criticized the crown for

𠇎xciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

This passage refers to a 1775 proclamation by Britain’s Lord Dunmore, which offered freedom to any enslaved person in the American colonies who volunteered to serve in the British army against the patriots’ revolt. The proclamation inspired thousands of enslaved people to seek liberty behind British lines during the Revolutionary War.

Tipping Is a Legacy of Slavery

Ms. Alexander is a civil rights advocate, the author of “The New Jim Crow,” and a contributing Opinion writer.

Once upon a time, I thought that it was perfectly appropriate for restaurant workers to earn less than minimum wage. Tipping, in my view, was a means for customers to show gratitude and to reward a job well done. If I wanted to earn more as a restaurant worker, then I needed to hustle more, put more effort into my demeanor, and be a bit more charming.

I thought this even when I was a waitress, working at a burger and burrito joint called Munchies during the summers when I was a college student. Collecting tips gave me a certain satisfaction. I liked sweeping dollar bills and coins off tables into the front pocket of my blue apron. Each time someone left me a big tip, anything more than I expected, a tiny jolt of dopamine flooded my brain as though I had just hit a mini jackpot. I got upset when people stiffed me, walking out and leaving nothing or just pennies — a true insult — but whenever that happened I reminded myself that I might get lucky next time. Or I would do better somehow.

Never did it occur to me that it was fundamentally unjust for me to earn less than the minimum wage and to depend on the good will of strangers in order to earn what was guaranteed by law to most workers. I had no idea that tipping was a legacy of slavery or that racism and sexism had operated to keep women, especially Black women like me, shut out of federal protections for wage labor. I did not question tipping as a practice, though looking back I see that I should have.

The first week on the job, one of my white co-workers, a middle-aged woman from rural Oregon, pulled me aside after she watched a group of rowdy white men, who had been rude and condescending to me throughout their meal, walk out the door without leaving a tip. “From now on, dear,” she said, “I’ll take the rednecks. Just pass ’em on to me.” This became a kind of joke between us — a wink and a nod before we switched tables — except it wasn’t funny. The risk that my race, not the quality of my work, would determine how much I was paid for my services was ever-present.

So was the risk that I would be punished for not flirting with the men I served. Men of all ages commented on my looks, asked me if I had a boyfriend, slipped me their phone numbers, and expected me to laugh along with their sexist jokes. I often played along, after learning from experience that the price of resistance would be the loss of tips that I had rightfully earned.

The truth was, though, that I was shielded from the biggest risk that tipped workers face: not being able to make ends meet. During the summers I spent waitressing, I was living at home with my parents and had my basic needs taken care of. On days when business was slow, and only a few customers trickled in, I was reminded that my situation was not the norm. I remember a co-worker crying at the end of her shift, because she hadn’t earned enough in tips to pay the babysitter. I remember a few of us pooling our tips so another co-worker could buy groceries on her way home and feed her kids.

After I graduated from law school, I became a civil rights lawyer and began representing victims of race and gender discrimination in employment, as well as victims of racial profiling and police violence. But it wasn’t until I read Saru Jayaraman’s book, “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining,” that I learned the history of tipping in the United States. After the Civil War, white business owners, still eager to find ways to steal Black labor, created the idea that tips would replace wages. Tipping had originated in Europe as “noblesse oblige,” a practice among aristocrats to show favor to servants. But when the idea came to the United States, restaurant corporations mutated the idea of tips from being bonuses provided by aristocrats to their inferiors to becoming the only source of income for Black workers they did not want to pay. The Pullman Company tried to get away with it too, but the Black porters, under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph, formed the nation’s first Black union to be affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and fought and won higher wages with tips on top.

Restaurant workers, however — who were mostly women — were not so fortunate. The unjust concept of tips as wages remained in place for them. And in 1938, when Franklin Roosevelt signed the nation’s first minimum wage into law, it excluded restaurant workers, a category that included a disproportionate number of Black people.

Why it took a century to pass an anti-lynching law

On Dec. 19, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that made lynching a federal crime. Proposed by Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala D. Harris and Tim Scott, the Justice for Lynching Act classifies lynching, “the ultimate expression of racism in the United States,” as a hate crime. In its findings, the bill states that at least 4,742 people, mostly African Americans, were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, and that Congress had considered nearly 200 anti-lynching bills in the first half of the 20th century without passing any of them.

For more than a century, Southern resistance and Northern indifference has undermined such legislative efforts. Why? Because lynching had remained a powerful terrorist tool to maintain white supremacy.

The passage of the Justice for Lynching Act is a reminder that change in America is painfully slow. This legislation took more than 100 years to pass, despite a long-standing recognition of lynching’s immorality, ultimately reminding us of the pervasive way in which racial violence has been ingrained in all aspects of law, politics and culture.

The campaign against lynching began in earnest in 1892 when Ida B. Wells, a journalist and social critic who had been born a slave in 1862, published “Southern Horrors: The Lynch Law in All Its Phases.” She lectured publicly and exposed the rape myth — falsely accusing the black men who were murdered of raping white women — that was used to justify lynching as a rationale for racial subordination. As a journalist, Wells-Barnett (she married in 1895) challenged professed ignorance about lynching with facts, a strategy adopted by the civil rights organizations that would follow her lead.

Building on these efforts, the newly founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) published a report, “Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States, 1889-1919,” denouncing the United States as “the only advanced nation whose government has tolerated lynching.” The report quoted President Woodrow Wilson, who in July 1918 condemned lynching. But Wilson’s condemnation meant little next to his earlier enthusiasm for “Birth of a Nation,” a film that further legitimized vigilantism. Despite Wilson’s appeal, the report notes, “lynchings continued . . . with unabated fury.”

These efforts pushed forward the first anti-lynching legislation. Proposed in 1918 by Rep. Leonidas C. Dyer, a Republican from Missouri, the bill targeted state officials for failing to provide equal protection under the laws to anyone victimized by a mob.

The NAACP worked diligently to cultivate public support for the legislation. W.E.B. Du Bois, director of publicity and research for the NAACP, published articles in its magazine, the Crisis, to highlight the horrors of lynching and advance legislation to stop it. Between 1920 and 1938, after news of a lynching, the NAACP would hang a flag from its Fifth Avenue offices that read “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday.” And yet, while the Dyer bill passed the House in 1922, Southern Democrats in the Senate filibustered and Republicans, who held a majority, allowed the bill to die.

In the 1930s, the NAACP, under the leadership of Walter White, mounted a new effort to secure federal anti-lynching legislation. The Costigan-Wagner Act, sponsored in 1934 by Democratic Sens. Edward P. Costigan of Colorado and Robert F. Wagner of New York, targeted law enforcement officials who failed to prevent a lynching. Again, Southern opposition doomed the effort, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite being lobbied by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, disappointed activists by not promoting the bill. He feared losing Democratic votes in the South and support for his New Deal agenda. As such, the House again passed bills in 1937 and 1940, but Senate filibusters once again defeated them.

Nonetheless, cultural awareness of the horrors of lynching spread. In 1935, in an attempt to win support for the Costigan-Wagner Act, two anti-lynching art exhibitions were held in New York, one sponsored by the NAACP and the other by the Communist Party’s John Reed Club. Images by artists such as Reginald Marsh, Paul Cadmus, Harry Sternberg and John Steuart Curry brought the subject to the fore with graphic drawings of grotesquely mangled bodies at imagined lynching scenes and seemingly more mundane depictions of the crowds.

Disability History: The Disability Rights Movement

President George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Photo inscribed to Justin Dart, Jr., 1990.

Image from the National Museum of American History (CC BY-SA 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmuseumofamericanhistory/20825041956/)

Treatment and perceptions of disability have undergone transformation since the 1900s. This has happened largely because people with disabilities have demanded and created those changes. Like other civil rights movements, the disability rights movement has a long history. Examples of activism can be found among various disability groups dating back to the 1800s. Many events, laws, and people have shaped this development. To date, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act (2008) are the movement’s greatest legal achievements. The ADA is a major civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities in many aspects of public life. The disability rights movement continues to work hard for equal rights.

Organizations by and for people with disabilities have existed since the 1800s. However, they exploded in popularity in the 1900s. The League of the Physically Handicapped organized in the 1930s, fighting for employment during the Great Depression. In the 1940s a group of psychiatric patients came together to form We Are Not Alone. [2] They supported patients in the transition from hospital to community. In 1950, several local groups came together and formed the National Association for Retarded Children (NARC). By 1960, NARC had tens of thousands of members, most of whom were parents. They were dedicated to finding alternative forms of care and education for their children. [3] Meanwhile, people with disabilities received assistance through the leadership of various presidents in the 1900s. President Truman formed the National Institute of Mental Health in 1948. Between the years 1960 and 1963, President Kennedy organized several planning committees to treat and research disability. [3]

The US Congress has passed many laws that support disability rights either directly or by recognizing and enforcing civil rights. Civil rights laws such as Brown v. Board of Education and its decision that school segregation is unconstitutional laid the groundwork for recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. Several sections of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, which specifically address disability discrimination, are especially important to the disability rights movement. Section 501 supports people with disabilities in the federal workplace and in any organization receiving federal tax dollars. Section 503 requires affirmative action, which supports employment and education for members of traditionally disadvantaged minority groups. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace and in their programs and activities. Section 508 guarantees equal or comparable access to technological information and data for people with disabilities. The regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were written but not implemented. In 1977, the disability rights community was tired of waiting, and demanded that President Carter sign the regulations. Instead, a task force was appointed to review them. Afraid that the review would weaken the protections of the Act, the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD) insisted they be enacted as written by 5 April 1977, or the coalition would take action. When the date arrived and the regulations remained unsigned, people across the country protested by sitting-in at federal offices of Health, Education, and Welfare (the agency responsible for the review). In San Francisco, the sit-in at the Federal Building lasted until April 28, when the regulations were finally signed, unchanged. This was, according to organizer Kitty Cone, the first time that “disability really was looked at as an issue of civil rights rather than an issue of charity and rehabilitation at best, pity at worst.” [4]

The 1975 Education of All Handicapped Children Act guaranteed children with disabilities the right to public school education. These laws have occurred largely due to the concerted efforts of disability activists protesting for their rights and working with federal government. In all, the United States Congress passed more than 50 pieces of legislation between the 1960s and the passage of the ADA in 1990.

Self-advocacy groups have also shaped the national conversation around disability. Self-advocacy means representing one's own interests. Such groups include DREDF (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund), ADAPT (Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transportation, later changed to Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today), and the CIL (Center for Independent Living). The CIL provides services for people with disabilities in the community. The CIL began in the early 1960s at Cowell Memorial Hospital . Located in California, Cowell Memorial Hospital was once listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is now demolished, but its legacy remains. The hospital supported the "Rolling Quads" and the "Disabled Students Program” at University of California Berkeley. Students Ed Roberts and John Hessler founded both organizations. Both men lived with physical disabilities and needed to find housing options after their acceptance to the university. University dormitories could not manage Roberts' iron lung, an assistive breathing device for people with polio, or Hessler's physical needs. Hessler and Roberts instead lived at Cowell Memorial Hospital when they arrived at college in the early 1960s. With the assistance of College of San Mateo counselor Jean Wirth, they demanded access to the school and encouraged other students with physical disabilities to attend UC Berkeley. They also influenced school architecture and planning. UC Berkeley eventually created housing accommodations for these students. It was there that the students planted the seed of the independent living movement. The independent living movement supports the idea that people with disabilities can make their own decisions about living, working, and interacting with the surrounding community. This movement is a reaction to centuries of assisted living, psychiatric hospitals, and doctors and parents who had made decisions for individuals with disabilities.

Roberts, Hessler, Wirth and others established the Disabled Students Program at UC Berkeley. Although this was not the first program of its kind-- Illinois offered similar services beginning in the 1940s-- the UC Berkeley Program was groundbreaking. They promoted inclusion for all kinds of students on campus. The program inspired universities across the country to create similar organizations. Many of these organizations are still active today.

Dr. Frank Kameny at Pride, 2010.

Photo by David (CC BY-2.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frank_Kameny_June_2010_Pride_1.jpg)

The Rolling Quads and CIL are among two groups from the disability rights movement. Disability activists also work with other communities to attain their goals. People form communities based on shared values, ideas, and identity. The strength and activism of a community can help change attitudes across society at large. Perceptions of disability and resulting treatment often intersect with other groups advocating for their civil and human rights. One example of this change is the treatment of the the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community. Doctors regarded homosexuality as a disease well into the 20th century. They could send men and women to psychiatric hospitals for their sexual preference. It was not until the 1970s that this "diagnosis" changed.

The Dr. Franklin Kameny Residence is part of this important history. Kameny had served as an astronomer and worked with the U.S. Army Map Service. In the 1950s, he refused to reveal his sexual orientation to the government. In response, the US government fired Kameny from his job. Kameny spent the rest of his life working as an activist and advocate for LGBTQ rights. His home provided the space for people to safely express and identify themselves. In 1973, Kameny successfully led the fight to abolish homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is the official handbook used by healthcare professionals to diagnose psychiatric issues and disabilities. This decision legally removed the status of homosexuality as a disorder. It also helped shift perceptions of homosexuality. More and more people began to understand it was not wrong or defective. The Kameny Residence continues to help us recognize and embrace the work of the gay civil rights community.

Other activists also took to the streets and demonstrated for disability rights. Some of these protests occurred at locations that are today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1988, students at Gallaudet University, the only American university specifically for deaf students, led the "Deaf President Now" protest. Students made several demands, calling for a Deaf president and majority Deaf population on the Board of Trustees. This week-long protest resulted successfully in the appointment of deaf president, Dr. I. King Jordan. Their protest inspired inclusion and integration across communities. [5]

Two years later in 1990, protesters gathered on the steps of the United States Capitol building. They were anxiously awaiting the passage of the ADA, which had stalled due to issues around transportation. Public transit companies fought against the strict regulations for accessibility, and their lobbying efforts slowed the entire process. In response, a group of individuals with disabilities headed for the Capitol. They tossed aside their wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches and ascended the steps. This event has since become known as the "Capitol Crawl." By dragging themselves up the stairs, these protesters expressed their daily struggles due to physical barriers. In so doing, they highlighted the need for accessibility. Iconic images of this event spread across the country. The Americans with Disabilities Act ultimately passed in July of 1990 and was signed by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA and other civil rights legislation have transformed opportunities for people with disabilities. However, over 25 years later, there is still much work to be done.

This article is part of the Telling All Americans’ Stories Disability History Series. The series focuses on telling selected stories through historic places. It offers a glimpse into the rich and varied history of Americans with disabilities.

[1] Disability Minnesota. The ADA Legacy Project: A Magna Carta and the Ides of March to the ADA, 2015
[2] Disability History. Disability Militancy - the 1930s Fountain House. The Origin of Fountain House.
[3] Michael Rembis, “Introduction,” in Michael Rembis, ed. Disabling Domesticity (Palgrave Macmillen).
[4] Grim, Andrew. “Sitting-in for disability rights: The Section 504 protests of the 1970s.” O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History, July 8, 2015.
[5] Disability History. Disability Militancy - the 1930s Fountain House. The Origin of Fountain House.


Amending the United States Constitution is a two-step process. Proposals to amend it must be properly adopted and ratified before becoming operative. A proposed amendment may be adopted and sent to the states for ratification by either:

  • The United States Congress, whenever a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House deem it necessary
  • A national convention, called by Congress for this purpose, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds (presently 34) of the states. [3][4]

The latter procedure has never been used. To become part of the Constitution, an adopted amendment must be ratified by either:

  • The legislatures of three-fourths (presently 38) of the states, within the stipulated time period, if any
  • State ratifying conventions in three-fourths (presently 38) of the states, within the stipulated time period, if any. [4]

The decision of which ratification method will be used for any given amendment is Congress' alone to make, as is the decision to set a ratification deadline. [3] Only for the 21st amendment was the latter procedure invoked and followed. Upon being properly ratified, an amendment becomes an operative addition to the Constitution. [4]

Constitutional amendment proposals considered in but not approved by Congress during the 19th century included:

    Ban Amendment, proposed in 1838, after Representative William Graves killed another congressman, Jonathan Cilley, in a duel, would have prohibited any person involved in a duel from holding federal office. [5]
  • An amendment to eliminate the presidency so as to have two elected officials in its place, was proposed by Virginia Representative Albert Jenkins in 1860. Jenkins saw the amendment as a way for both the Northern and the Southern states to be represented equally in the government at a given time. [6] , first proposed in February 1863, would have added acknowledgment of the Christian God in the Preamble to the Constitution. [7] Similar amendments were proposed in 1874, 1896 and 1910 with none passing. The last attempt in 1954 did not come to a vote. , proposed in 1875, would have banned public funds from going to religious purposes, in order to prevent Catholics from taking advantage of such funds. [8] Though it failed to pass, many states adopted such provisions. [9]
  • An amendment allowing property-owning unmarried women to vote was proposed by Representative William Mason. It was reportedly proposed because husbands could vote for the married women but the others "love their country, having no husband to love better than themselves", and the women were referred to as "spinsters and widows". [6]
  • Congressman Lucas Miller proposed renaming the United States of America to the United States of Earth in 1893, as well as abolishing the Army and Navy. [10]

Constitutional amendment proposals considered in but not approved by Congress during the 20th century included:

  • An amendment abolishing the Senate was proposed by Representative Victor Berger in 1911, due to his belief that it was corrupt as well as useless to the country as a whole. [11] was proposed by Representative Seaborn Roddenbery, a Southern Democrat from Georgia, in 1912 to forbid interracial marriages nationwide. This was spurred when black boxer Jack Johnson garnered much publicity when he married a white woman, Lucille Cameron. [12][13] Similar amendments were proposed by Congressman Andrew King, a Missourian Democrat, in 1871 and by Senator Coleman Blease, a South Carolinian Democrat, in 1928. None were passed by Congress.
  • Anti-Polygamy Amendment, proposed by Representative Frederick Gillett, a Massachusetts Republican, on January 24, 1914, and supported by former U.S. Senator from Utah, Frank J. Cannon, and by the National Reform Association. [14] was proposed by Representative Louis Ludlow in 1937. This amendment would have heavily reduced America's ability to be involved in war, requiring a national referendum to confirm any declaration of war. Public support for the amendment was very robust through the 1930s, a period when isolationism was the prevailing mood in the United States. [15][16][17]
  • A maximum wage amendment that no person should accumulate more than $1 million was proposed by Representative Wesley Lloyd in 1933. In the wake of the Wall Street Crash and the beginnings of the Great Depression many Americans believed that personal wealth should be limited to avoid such an issue from happening again. [18]
  • An amendment to limit investment income was proposed by Representative J. Buell Snyder in 1933. [6]
  • Multiple attempts to repeal the 21st Amendment ending Prohibition were proposed by Representative Morris Sheppard, introducer of the 18th Amendment originally banning alcoholic beverages, from 1935 to 1938, followed by attempt to outlaw drunkenness after his first proposals failed. [6] , proposed in 1951 by Ohio Senator John W. Bricker, would have limited the federal government's treaty-making power by prohibiting treaties from violating the U.S. Constitution and limiting executive agreements. [19] Opposed by President Dwight Eisenhower, [20] it failed twice to reach the threshold of two-thirds of voting members necessary for passage, the first time by eight votes and the second time by a single vote. [21] , would eliminate term limits for presidents. Presidents Harry S. Truman, [22]Ronald Reagan, [23]Bill Clinton[24] and Donald Trump[25] all expressed support for some sort of repeal. The first efforts in Congress to repeal the 22nd Amendment were undertaken in 1956, only five years after its ratification. According to the Congressional Research Service, over the ensuing half-century (through 2008) 54 joint resolutions seeking to repeal the two-term presidential election limit were introduced none were given serious consideration. [26] The most recent attempt was launched by Representative José Serrano (D-New York) in 2013, during the 113th Congress. [27] to establish that "the people retain the right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, and traditions on public property, including schools." Proposed by Robert Byrd of West Virginia in 1962, 1973, 1979, 1982, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 2006. [28] Representative Ernest Istook, a Republican from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district, proposed the amendment in the house on May 8, 1997. [29] In March 1998, the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a 16–11 vote. [30] On June 4, 1998, the full House voted on the amendment, 224–203 in favor. The vote was 61 short of the required two-thirds majority. [31] was first proposed in 1995 to give Congress the power to make acts such as flag burning illegal, seeking to overturn the 1990 Supreme Court Texas v. Johnson decision ruling that such laws were unconstitutional. [32] During each term of Congress from 1995 to 2005, the proposed amendment was passed by the House of Representatives, but never by the Senate, coming closest during voting on June 27, 2006, with 66 in support and 34 opposed (one vote short). [33] was the closest the United States has come to passing an Electoral College abolition amendment. The amendment would have replaced the current Electoral College with a simpler two-round system modeled after French presidential elections. It was proposed during the 91st Congress (1969–1971). [34] The House Judiciary Committee voted 28–6 to approve the proposal [35] and was eventually passed the full House with bipartisan support on September 18, 1969, by a vote of 339 to 70. [36] The Senate commenced openly debating the proposal [37] and the proposal was quickly filibustered. [38] On September 17, 1970, a motion for cloture, which would have ended the filibuster, received 54 votes to 36 for cloture, [38] failing to receive the then required a two-thirds majority of senators voting. Other proposals were made in 2005, 2009, and 2016, none of which were voted on by committee. , first proposed in 1973, would overturn the Roe v. Wade court ruling and prohibit abortion. A total of 330 proposals using varying texts have been proposed with almost all dying in committee. The only version that reached a formal floor vote, the Hatch–Eagleton Amendment, [39][40] was rejected by 18 votes in the Senate on June 28, 1983. [41]
  • A balanced budget amendment, in which Congress and the President are forced to balance the budget every year, has been introduced many times [42] dating back to the 1930s. [43] No measure passed either body of Congress until 1982, when the Senate took 11 days to consider it and gained the necessary two-thirds majority. [43] The first and only time the House gave two-thirds approval to a balanced budget amendment was in 1995, when Members of the House of Representatives elected in the Republican Revolution voted for the Contract with America. That was also the last time the House held a floor or committee vote. [43]
  • Various proposed amendments for congressional term limits have been made since Supreme Court ruled state term limits on federal officials to be unconstitutional in the U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton decision in 1995. [44]
  • The single subject amendment, an amendment first proposed in 1996, which would introduce a single-subject rule blocking members of Congress from adding riders to bills.

Constitutional amendment proposals considered in but not approved by Congress thus far in the 21st century have included:

Abolitionism to Jim Crow

American history has been marked by persistent and determined efforts to expand the scope and inclusiveness of civil rights. Although equal rights for all were affirmed in the founding documents of the United States, many of the new country’s inhabitants were denied essential rights. Enslaved Africans and indentured servants did not have the inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that British colonists asserted to justify their Declaration of Independence. Nor were they included among the “People of the United States” who established the Constitution in order to “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Instead, the Constitution protected slavery by allowing the importation of enslaved persons until 1808 and providing for the return of enslaved people who had escaped to other states.

As the United States expanded its boundaries, Native American peoples resisted conquest and absorption. Individual states, which determined most of the rights of American citizens, generally limited voting rights to white property-owning males, and other rights—such as the right to own land or serve on juries—were often denied on the basis of racial or gender distinctions. A small proportion of Black Americans lived outside the slave system, but those so-called “free Blacks” endured racial discrimination and enforced segregation. Although some enslaved persons violently rebelled against their enslavement (see slave rebellions), African Americans and other subordinated groups mainly used nonviolent means—protests, legal challenges, pleas and petitions addressed to government officials, as well as sustained and massive civil rights movements—to achieve gradual improvements in their status.

During the first half of the 19th century, movements to extend voting rights to non-property-owning white male labourers resulted in the elimination of most property qualifications for voting, but this expansion of suffrage was accompanied by brutal suppression of American Indians and increasing restrictions on free Blacks. Owners of enslaved people in the South reacted to the 1831 Nat Turner slave revolt in Virginia by passing laws to discourage antislavery activism and prevent the teaching of enslaved people to read and write. Despite this repression, a growing number of Black Americans freed themselves from slavery by escaping or negotiating agreements to purchase their freedom through wage labour. By the 1830s, free Black communities in the Northern states had become sufficiently large and organized to hold regular national conventions, where Black leaders gathered to discuss alternative strategies of racial advancement. In 1833 a small minority of whites joined with Black antislavery activists to form the American Anti-Slavery Society under the leadership of William Lloyd Garrison.

Frederick Douglass became the most famous of the formerly enslaved persons who joined the abolition movement. His autobiography—one of many slave narratives—and his stirring orations heightened public awareness of the horrors of slavery. Although Black leaders became increasingly militant in their attacks against slavery and other forms of racial oppression, their efforts to secure equal rights received a major setback in 1857, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected African American citizenship claims. The Dred Scott decision stated that the country’s founders had viewed Blacks as so inferior that they had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” This ruling—by declaring unconstitutional the Missouri Compromise (1820), through which Congress had limited the expansion of slavery into western territories—ironically strengthened the antislavery movement, because it angered many whites who did not hold enslaved people. The inability of the country’s political leaders to resolve that dispute fueled the successful presidential campaign of Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the antislavery Republican Party. Lincoln’s victory in turn prompted the Southern slave states to secede and form the Confederate States of America in 1860–61.

Although Lincoln did not initially seek to abolish slavery, his determination to punish the rebellious states and his increasing reliance on Black soldiers in the Union army prompted him to issue the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) to deprive the Confederacy of its enslaved property. After the American Civil War ended, Republican leaders cemented the Union victory by gaining the ratification of constitutional amendments to abolish slavery (Thirteenth Amendment) and to protect the legal equality of formerly enslaved persons (Fourteenth Amendment) and the voting rights of male ex-slaves (Fifteenth Amendment). Despite those constitutional guarantees of rights, almost a century of civil rights agitation and litigation would be required to bring about consistent federal enforcement of those rights in the former Confederate states. Moreover, after federal military forces were removed from the South at the end of Reconstruction, white leaders in the region enacted new laws to strengthen the “ Jim Crow” system of racial segregation and discrimination. In its Plessy v. Ferguson decision (1896), the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” facilities for African Americans did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, ignoring evidence that the facilities for Blacks were inferior to those intended for whites.

The Southern system of white supremacy was accompanied by the expansion of European and American imperial control over nonwhite people in Africa and Asia as well as in island countries of the Pacific and Caribbean regions. Like African Americans, most nonwhite people throughout the world were colonized or economically exploited and denied basic rights, such as the right to vote. With few exceptions, women of all races everywhere were also denied suffrage rights (see woman suffrage).

Insanity: Chicago-Area Leaders Want to Cancel History Classes Until 'Suitable Alternative' Is Found

I mean, is this a joke? We’re going to ban history classes until we can find a curriculum…that suits the historically illiterate agenda of the ‘woke’ Left? No, that’s what Chicago-area leaders are suggesting because it's racist. It’s the easiest category in ‘woke’ Jeopardy (via NBC Chicago):

Leaders in education, politics and other areas gathered in suburban Evanston Sunday to ask that the Illinois State Board of Education change the history curriculum at schools statewide, and temporarily halt instruction until an alternative is decided upon.

At a news conference, State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said current history teachings lead to a racist society and overlook the contributions of women and minorities.

Before the event Sunday, Rep. Ford's office distributed a news release "Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools," in which Ford asked the ISBOE and school districts to immediately remove history curriculum and books that "unfairly communicate" history "until a suitable alternative is developed."

“A suitable alternative” is what exactly? Folks, this is why allowing these lefties to tear down Confederate statues was a bad, bad idea. For conservative, this is why you should have defended all of American history. It’s not about the statues. It’s about our history. They want to erase it and to make inroads, they attack the most violent and divisive parts in order to make the argument that all must be wiped clean. They have standards that are meant to be impossible to meet to initiate the erasure process. This is not by accident. It’s why you have idiots trying to tear down statues of Abraham Lincoln. This is cultural revolutionary nonsense. It must be called out, exposed, targeted, and stomped out. Also, given the issues plaguing education, I’m pretty sure history classes is the least of the worries on that action item list.

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