You are on page 1of 2

A Guide to the Tenth Amendment

The Tenth Amendment, or Amendment X of the United States Constitution is the


section of the Bill of Rights that basically says that any power that is not given to the
federal government is given to the people or the states. The Tenth Amendment of the
Bill of Rights put into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was
voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Text of the Tenth Amendment
The text of the Tenth Amendment is very short and says the following:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it
to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
History of the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment is very similar to an earlier part of the Articles of Confederation.
These articles said that every state would keep their freedom, independence,
jurisdiction, rights, and sovereignty.
Once the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states, some people wanted to add
amendments that would only give the federal governments powers that were mentioned
in the Constitution. However, because the world expressly did not show up in the
Tenth Amendment, the Federal government still had some implied powers.
When James Madison introduced the Tenth Amendment, he explained that many of the
states were very eager to ratify the Tenth amendment, even though many people
thought it was not necessary. The States ultimately decided to vote for the Tenth
Amendment which made it clearer that there were still powers that were not mentioned
that the Federal government had.
Modern Use of the Tenth Amendment
Today, the Tenth Amendment is often thought of as something very obvious or selfevident. In a 1931 Supreme Court case, the justices said that the Tenth Amendment did
not really add anything new to the United States Constitution. Sometimes, local or state
governments try to say that they do not have to follow some federal laws because of the
Tenth Amendment.
In the Supreme Court, there have been very few cases that use the Tenth Amendment
to call a law unconstitutional. The only times the Court has done this is in situations
where the Federal government forces a state to follow their laws. However, in 1996, a
Justice said that Congress can try to make a state follow a law by setting certain laws

that may involve commerce or spending power, but Congress cannot force a state to
follow federal laws.
Facts about the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment was introduced to the U.S. Constitution by James Madison.
The Tenth Amendment is a good example of a part of the Constitution that talks about
federalism, which is a type of government that is split up into different governing
sections.
The Tenth Amendment was supposed to help limit Congresss powers, by preventing
any un-enumerated rights, but instead it resulted in more uncertainty about uncertainty
about their rights.