Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Happy birthday, 11th Amendment

February 7, 2013 by Holly Munson


Photo via Mike Renlund/Flickr

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the 11th Amendment (ratified February 7, 1795).

Here’s what you need to know.

What it does:

It protects the states from being sued in federal court by citizens of other states or by other countries.

Why it was added:

In 1793, the Supreme Court ruled in Chisholm v. Georgia that Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution permitted individuals to sue states. The 11th Amendment reversed this decision and clarified the meaning of Article III.


The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

For the full text of the Constitution, visit the Interactive Constitution here.

Civic holidays are occasions to commemorate America’s history, celebrate our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and learn about our constitutional ideals. Download a PDF of the 2013 Civic Calendar here.

Holly Munson is Assistant Editor of Constitution Daily, the blog of the National Constitution Center.

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