Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

James Nichols

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The goal of the paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of Article V of the U.S. Constitution in balancing continuity and adaptability within the framework of American governance.The study finds that the U.S. Constitution, with only 27 amendments over more than two centuries, is exceptionally rigid compared to other nations' constitutions. This rigidity has contributed to stability but also to a lack of responsiveness to modern socio-economic challenges, where other countries have been more adaptable. Through case studies like Roe v. Wade, the paper discusses how judicial review has often served as a de facto method for constitutional change in the U.S., expanding or contracting rights in ways that the formal amendment process has not addressed. The paper considers the South African and USSR Constitutions to understand how different approaches to constitutional amendments impact the rights and liberties of the populace. The findings suggest that the balance Article V achieves between stability and change works well despite its drawbacks.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.