The 27th Amendment requires that no change in compensation for a Representative or a Senator “shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”

The amendment was originally proposed in 1789 by James Madison, as part of his list of twelve amendments to the Constitution.  Ten of those were adopted to become the Bill of Rights.  Needing the votes of ten states at the time, the amendment received only six.  It finally passed in 1992, following a letter writing campaign to state legislators by a University of Texas student, Gregory Watson.  Maryland was the first state to ratify the amendment in 1789; Illinois the last in 1992.  The 27th Amendment is the latest amendment to be ratified.

Two notable proposed amendments that failed ratification due to the expiration of the ratification period specified by Congress are the Equal Rights Amendment, proposed in 1972, and the Washington D.C. Voting Rights Amendment, proposed in 1978.  Click here for an explanation of the ratification process.