Rising frustration with Washington and conservative electoral victories across much of the U.S. are feeding a movement in favor of something America hasn’t done in 227 years: Hold a convention to rewrite the Constitution.

Although it’s still not likely to be successful, the effort is more serious than before: Already, more than two dozen states have called for a convention. There are two ways to change or amend the founding document. The usual method is for an adjustment to win approval from two-thirds of the Congress and then be ratified by three-quarters of the states. There have been 27 amendments adopted this way.

The second procedure is separate from Congress. It requires two-thirds of the states, or 34, to call for a convention. The framers thought this was necessary because Congress wouldn’t be likely to advance any amendments that curtailed its powers. But this recourse never has been used.


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