The missing thirteenth amendmentThe missing thirteenth amendment
was an amendment to the United States Constitution
, proposed in 1810
by Republican Senator Philip Reed:
- If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any Emperor, King, Prince, or foreign Power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.
Most constitutional scholars consider the Titles of Nobility Amendment ("TONA") to have not been ratified by enough states to become a part of the Constitution, plus most people would consider it to have no real world effect even if it were part of the Constitution. However, there exists groups of people who claim that it was properly ratified, and that it would have an effect. The claimed effects are:
- When someone in the United States becomes a lawyer, they receive the title of "Esquire", which is a British title of nobility. Hence, all lawyers in the United States are British nobility, and can't hold public office.
- That "honour" in the phrase "title of nobility or honour" shouldn't be interpreted as "title of honour", but rather as "obtaining or having an advantage or privilege over another", which include, among other things, immunities to lawsuits that various government officials hold. Thus, judges could be sued for the legal decisions that they make, and legislators could be sued for the laws they passed.
- Pro-TONA page arguing that lawyers hold a title of nobility
- Pro-TONA page, arguing that the TONA would allow judges and other public officials to be sued
- Anti-TONA page, arguing that TONA was never made a part of the constitution, and that lawyers don't hold any titles of nobility