US Constitution – A Git repo with history of edits

 3 years ago
source link: https://www.tuicool.com/articles/2iAJRrF
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Historical Edits of the USA Constitution

The United States of America's Constitution has seen many modifications over the centuries. These changes have been handled without modification of the original document through what is called an Amendment. But what does the final document look like? How did these Amendments actually change what that document said? This repository answers those questions, to the best of my ability.

A good example of what I mean is the changes made by the Bill of Rights. https://github.com/JesseKPhillips/USA-Constitution/commit/7f340829cfc2ea844de1adfa4d9618d2adb6f932

Who Made the Change?

I tried my best to identify a primary author of the Amendment utilizing that person as the Author of the commit. I also used the ability to change the commit date... which may not have been the best choice. Git dates are incapable of representing the year in which these events took place; in this case the 1970's could be represented so I decided to ignore the first two digits.

With the exception of the commits made in 1971, the year was actually 1791, I follow the simple path of ignoring the least significant digit. So 1996 means 196?as I chop off the 19, the year 1000 is implied and then tack on the next two significant digits of the year which is 96 and leaves off the specific year.

Going forward though, any amendments should use the actual amended date since there will be no confusion for this scheme and anything occurring after 2000.

The Eighteenth Amendment

I would draw attention to Amendment XVIII. First off the commit message says XVII which is incorrect but I'm referring to the Amendment itself.


This was the only amendment to the Constitution which deserved the addition of a new Article. All other modifications had a reasonable Article they either modified or expanded on. The 18th Amendment however was the prohibition of alcohol, the only amendment to directly affect what people could do within their country. All other content in the Constitution covers how the government is put together, what role each segregation plays and even puts restrictions on what States can do.

I had considered adding additional content to this commit that wasn't found in the Amendment. Why? Because I wanted to clearly state that the government was granting themselves the power necessary to enforce this. But at last I did not, because Article I Section 8 ends with

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Which looking at again, does not say they have the power to lay laws to enforce the Articles of the Constitution, but instead the Powers vested by this Constitution... Hmmm, I expressly removed the portion of the Amendments which actually granted power to enforce the Amendment (as still visible in the amendments.md file).

Makes you wonder if this was what was needed to ban alcohol, where does the government get the power to ban drugs.

Additional Contributions

Since the historic modifications are complete, additional markdown formatting is welcome.

While the master branch shall remain the actual edits to the Constitution, feel free to propose a new branch that include changes you'd like to express. I'll arbitrarily evaluate if it is suitable to be added. One idea might be to change the Constitution to clearly state the powers the government is executing with.

Keep in mind this is not a formal platform to establish Constitutional changes.

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