A Student Researches the Issue

1982

In 1982, while looking for a research paper topic, University of Texas graduate student Gregory Watson discovers that in addition to the ten amendments that became the Bill of Rights, there were two other amendments that the First Congress had proposed and submitted to the states for ratification. In a paper, he argues that those amendments, though not ratified at the time, are still viable because they do not contain a “sunset provision” limiting the time for ratification. His professor is not impressed with his argument and gives him a C on his paper. Convinced that the amendment is still pending, Watson then begins a campaign to lobby state legislatures to ratify the forgotten amendments. When Congress votes itself a large pay increase, the campaign gains momentum.