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President Ronald Reagan

Article V Convention and BBA Advocate

Ronald Reagan was a strong supporter of the effort to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) via the Article V Convention. He even mentioned it in his 1984 state of the union address. When describing his support Reagan said,

“We can’t depend on Congress to discipline itself … we must rely on the states to force Congress to act on our amendment. Fortunately, our Nation’s Founders gave us the means to amend the Constitution through action of state legislatures … That is the only strategy that will work.”

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President Dwight Eisenhower

Article V Convention Advocate

The five star general who led America through WWII and later served two terms as president recognized the Article V convention as the only constitutional method by which the people might peacefully reform their government. To illustrate this belief Eisenhower said,

“Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government.”

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President George Washington

Article V Convention Advocate

As the general who led the American colonies in revolt, George Washington recognized the need for a peaceful democratic method by which the states might reform the new federal government. While the nation was debating whether to adopt the new Constitution, he reminded a friend that the states retained power over the federal government via the Article V Convention:

“the constitutional door is open for such amendments as shall be thought necessary by nine (two-thirds of the) states.”

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President Abraham Lincoln

Article V Convention Advocate

The man who many describe as our nation’s greatest president believed so strongly in the Article V Convention, that he supported the call for a convention to prevent the Civil War.  Lincoln described his support for conventions when wrote,

“Whenever they (the people) shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it … I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves.”

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President Thomas Jefferson

Article V Convention & BBA Advocate

Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for the Article V Convention in the Declaration of Independence and later recommended that we eliminate the right of the federal government to borrow,

“If a government becomes self-destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution … taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.”

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President James Madison

Article V Convention Advocate

Our nation’s fourth president and oft-proclaimed ‘father of the Constitution’ helped craft Article V and later signed the Constitution which proves his strong support for the Article V Convention. Much later in life he stated his strong support for the Article V Convention by proclaiming it as the ultimate method by which the states might defend their autonomy against federal encroachment:

“The final resort within the purview of the Constitution lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.”

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Founder Alexander Hamilton

Article V Convention Advocate

Alexander Hamilton was considered to be the most brilliant of our founding fathers. In Federalist 85, he described the Article V Convention as a defensive mechanism that the states could use to prevent overreach by the new federal government.

“By the fifth article of the plan (the Constitution), the Congress will be obliged ‘on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States, to call a convention for proposing amendments’ … We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”