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When the first edition of the constitution was ratified, I imagine they must have used parchment.

  • When they made several new amendments, how did they go back to the constitution and revise any prior sections to comply with that new amendment?
  • Today, is the constitution stored digitally so that any new revisions can be made with ease?
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    Parchment is rather dissimilar to paper, since it is animal skin. Paper is made from plant fibers. – phoog Apr 16 at 4:35
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When they made several new amendments, how did they go back to the constitution and revise any prior sections to comply with that new amendment?

They don't. Some renditions of it will strike out certain sections, but amendments are in addition to the other text of the constitution. They don't change it. For example, the bill of rights are ten amendments and they made no changes to the constitution, explicit or implicit. The constitution is an ever lengthening document.

This occasionally causes confusion, as there are some parts of the constitution and amendments that conflict.

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    A good example of amendments canceling out other amendments are the amendments 18 (alcohol prohibition) and 21 (repeal of alcohol prohibition). The 21st amendment didn't remove the text of the 18th. The text is still there, but the 21st says it doesn't count. That's different from the constitutions in other countries where amendments often literally remove or change existing parts. For example, article 75 of the German Grundgesetz (constitution equivalent) currently literally reads "(weggefallen)" (repealed). – Philipp Apr 16 at 12:11
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    @Philipp Article 75 does not literally read "weggefallen"; it was removed. Note that the law that effected this change does not say "Die Artikel 74a und 75 werden wie folgt gefasst: (weggefallen)" but rather "Die Artikel 74a und 75 werden aufgehoben" (Art. 1(8)). This is essentially the same as section 1 of the 21st amendment, and is the reason why weggefallen is in brackets. (But as is clear from (e.g.) Article 1(9), amendments to the German constitution are indeed expressed as changes to the text rather than simply to the legal provisions.) – phoog Apr 16 at 14:15
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The first question was answered well by Brythan, so I will answer the second.

Today, is the constitution stored digitally so that any new revisions can be made with ease?

No. There is no Master copy of the constitution, and even if they were all blown up, the constitution would not change.

So first, there is not physical or digital Master document that, when changed, changes the constitution. The constitution changes precisely once the amendment is ratified by 3/4ths of the states (this would now be 38/50). The Archivist of the United States, who is in charge of the National Archives and Records Administration, certifies that this has been done and signs a certification. As user

According to 1 USC 106b, the Archivist must publish the amendment, along with the certification, which serves as the formal legal notification that the amendment is now a valid part of the constitution. This is done in the Federal Register.

  • The proclamation of the amendment has to be published in the Federal Register as well, as a formal legal notification of the Archivist's certification. This is the publication required by 1 USC 106b. – user71659 Apr 27 at 20:39
  • Thanks @user71659, I'll add this. – theresawalrus Apr 28 at 11:08
  • Incomplete sentence. – Paul Johnson Apr 28 at 14:15

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