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Encyclopedia > Ludlow Amendment

Louis Ludlow was a Washington correspondent for a large number of newspapers, and then served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Indianapolis, Indiana district for twenty years. He first introduced a constitutional amendment in 1935 (the Ludlow Amendment), which required a national referendum to confirm a declaration of war passed by Congress, except in the event of an invasion of the United States or its territorial possessions. While Ludlow introduced the amendment several times from 1935 to 1941, it failed to pass, in spite of strong support in national opinion polls.

In January 1938, during the buildup to the second world war, passage of the resolution seemed assured, but President Franklin Roosevelt sent a letter to the Speaker of the House arguing that a president would be unable to conduct an effective foreign policy and other nations would violate American rights if the Constitution was amended. By a vote of 209-188, the House returned the resolution to committee.



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