Convention of States Foundation’s 2023 Simulated Article V Convention is officially underway in Colonial Williamsburg, with over 100 commissioners from 49 states gathered to demonstrate how Article V of the Constitution can (and will) be used by the states to rein in federal tyranny.

According to a little-known constitutional provision, whenever two-thirds of the states make Article V applications, Congress will have no choice but to “call a convention for proposing amendments.” At this convention, the states would propose and debate amendments that limit the federal government’s power and jurisdiction, place term limits on federal officials, and impose fiscal restraints on federal spending. Any amendment that passed out of convention would then go back to the states for ratification.

Nineteen states have already passed Article V resolutions, and many more are actively considering legislation. Thirty-four states are needed to trigger the convention. In the meantime, commissioners at the Simulated Article V Convention, August 2-4, will exhibit how the process works.

“This is the key to re-balancing power between Washington, DC, and the states, and we’re ready to show America how it works,” explained Rita Peters, the organization’s constitutional attorney. “It is absolutely thrilling to be part of an effort to dust off a diplomatic process which was so well-known to our Founding Fathers but has now been long neglected by the states.”

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Convention of States Foundation’s president and founder, Mark Meckler, opened the event on Wednesday, reminding attendees that future historians will look to this event as a catalyst that led to the first-ever actual Article V convention. He compared it to the Annapolis Convention of 1786, which laid the groundwork for the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

Day two of the simulation kicked off with inspiring speeches from modern-day “Founding Fathers,” including Convention of States co-founder Michael Farris, COS Senior Advisor Rick Santorum, and the 2017 simulated convention President, Rep. Ken Ivory.

People say there “are no Patrick Henrys and Sam Adamses and Madisons and Washingtons anymore,” Meckler acknowledged, but “I look out in this room, [and] I see an audience full of people of that caliber.”

Addressing the crowd, attorney Michael Farris, founder of HSLDA and Patrick Henry College and former president of Alliance Defending Freedom, explained that Convention of States is fighting for the Founders’ original vision for America.

“We’re fighting for the original principles… We’re fighting to restore the general principles of our Constitution, just like in 1776. They were fighting to keep the principle that Americans tax themselves—no taxation without representation. Why? Because that is the moral principle that lies behind all government.”

“They got it right when they said ‘we are endowed by our creator with certain and inalienable rights among these are life and happiness, and for this reason, governments are instituted among men.’”

“The reason for limited government,” he added, “is more freedom.”

SEE ALSO: Tocqueville warned us about this moment

Sen. Rick Santorum observed that, currently, the states are at the bottom of the political food chain rather than at the top as the Founders intended.

“The Constitution was written by folks like you,” Santorum reminded the commissioners, most of whom are state legislators. “They wanted you folks, the state legislators, the states, to be at the top of the food chain.”

He noted that state governments used to hold ascendancy over Washington, DC, but now, the federal government holds state governments in contempt. The only way to break that imbalance of power, he argued, is through Article V.

“Once you have a convention, then you show Washington that you are now at the top of the food chain.”

Following another speech from former simulation President Ken Ivory, who reminded attendees that the American people are ultimately in charge of the process, the convention voted on a new president, selecting Rep. Woody Jenkins from Louisiana.

Commissioners then split into three separate committees, the Term Limits Committee, Fiscal Restraints Committee, and Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Committee. According to Mark Meckler, ensuing debates were “lively” and “fairly heated” but “encouraging.” He described committee members as “statesmen and stateswomen stepping up and doing what it takes to try to fix the nation.”

Up next at the 2023 Simulated Article V Convention…

Proposed amendments that pass out of committee will be considered by all 49 states in a plenary session on Friday. This session will be live-streamed for the enjoyment of Article V fans on August 4 at 9 AM ET.

Already, the 2023 Simulated Article V Convention has proven to be an unmissable, historic occasion—and the most important day of the week is yet to come! For ten years, Convention of States Foundation has worked tirelessly to advance the Founders’ vision for liberty in America. Millions have joined the organization in that fight. Although the journey has sometimes felt sluggish, this year’s simulated event is proof, not only that we’re closer than ever before to crossing that final finish line, but also that patriot leaders nationwide are stepping up to lead the charge.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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