At NPR, Ronald Elving writes of the "zombie amendments," proposed constitutional amendments that never won ratification by 3/4 of the states but, because they have no expiration date, are not exactly dead.
1. The oldest is the Titles of Nobility Amendment, first sent to the states in 1810 on the verge of the second war with Great Britain (to be known as the War of 1812). It provided that any American citizen who accepted or received any title of nobility from a foreign power (or accepted any gift from such a power without the consent of Congress) would forfeit his or her American citizenship.
This amendment came close to ratification, with a dozen states giving thumbs-up within two years. But there were 17 states as of 1803, so the Anti-Title Amendment fell short. No states have since joined in, but in the absence of an expiration clause, this amendment remains technically available.The Titles of Nobility Amendment reads as follows:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in Congress assembled (two-thirds of both Houses concurring), That the following section be submitted to the legislatures of the several states, which, when ratified by the
legislatures of three fourths of the states, shall be valid and binding, as a part of the
constitution of the United States.
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