(0) Planner
Visitors Guide

"A More Perfect Union: How Critical Presidential Elections Reshaped the Constitution"

  • From: Mar 04, 2016 – Dec 31, 2016
  • Recurring daily
  • 500 W. Highway 24
  • Independence, MO 64050
  • Venue: Truman Library & Museum
  • Times: Mon-Sat, 9 am - 5 pm; Sun, noon-5 pm
  • Admission: Seniors 65+, $7; Adults 16-64, $8; Youth 6-15, $3; 5 and under, free
  • Phone: (816) 268-8200

In November 2016 Americans will go to the polls to elect a new President. The election process bears almost no resemblance to the way George Washington was elected the nation's first President in 1789. Yet the Constitution, which laid out the structure of the Federal government and the procedures under which Presidents would be elected, has changed very little in the intervening years. Since the original ten amendments comprising the Bill of Rights were ratified 225 years ago in 1791, there have been only 17 additional Constitutional amendments. America has changed dramatically, but the Constitution has proven to be remarkably durable. To mark the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, this temporary exhibition examines the interplay between Presidential elections and Constitutional amendments. The election of a few Presidents ushered in movements that fundamentally altered the Constitution through amendments. The Civil War President Abraham Lincoln inspired the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Progressive era Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson inspired the ratification of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th amendments. Experiences of other Presidents also provoked Constitutional changes. The disputed 1800 election of Thomas Jefferson led to the 12th amendment; the fourth term of Franklin D. Roosevelt led to the 22nd amendment; the assassination of John F. Kennedy resulted in the 25th amendment. Will the election of 2016 result in a movement to further alter the Constitution with amendments related to gun control, campaign financing, political gerrymandering and redistricting, capital punishment or other hot-button issues? Some watershed Presidential elections of the past have done just that.

Hide Map
View Map