August 10, 2017

HOW A C-GRADE TERM PAPER LED TO A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

By David F. EFFIONG



In 1982, a college undergraduate student, Gregory Watson  discovered that the proposed amendment could still be ratified and started a grassroots campaign. Watson was also an aide to Texas state senator Ric Williamson. He was a sophomore at the University of Texas-Austin in 1982 and he needed a topic for a government course. Watson researched what became the 27 Amendment and found that six states had ratified it by 1792, and then there was little activity about it. Watson concluded that the amendment could still be ratified, because Congress had never stipulated a time limit for states to consider it for ratification. Watson’s professor gave him a C for the paper, calling the whole idea a “dead letter” issue and saying it would never become part of the constitution.
Undeterred, Watson started a self-financed campaign to get the amendment ratified. He wrote letters to state officials, and the amendment was ratified in Maine in 1983 and Colorado in 1984. The story appeared a magazine called State Legislatures , and an official from Wyoming, reading the magazine, confirmed his state had ratified the amendment, too, six years earlier. (Cf. blog.constitutioncenter.org).
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The key word here is RESEARCH. You would notice that Watson self-financed a campaign to get the Amendment ratified. Watson was ‘ipso facto,’ CONVINCED he was doing the right thing. 
How many students (both undergraduates and post graduates) who study in Nigeria can boast of doing their projects alone at first and research at best? How many students can make a project of theirs worth reading and referenced? How many of those projects and term papers ever live the dusty library shelves to finding relevance in the society? How many folks even see the need to make a text book out of these materials? Or do folks believe, and rightly so, that the ‘status quo’ these materials enjoy at the hands of arm chair scholars and praise-singing relatives is indeed the end of all things education? 
Education is never dusty! 

Plagiarism and unoriginality stinks like goat shit!
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The question now is WERE YOU OR ARE YOU PROUD OF YOUR TERM PAPER OR PROJECT? I hope you’d be honest…

My name is David Francis and the nature of my engagements include:

Philosophy (University of Jos, Nigeria); Researcher (St. Albert’s Institute, Fayit-Fadan, Kaduna, Nigeria); Editor (Sapientia African Leadership Formation Programme, e. V Address: Badenstedter Street, 99 30453, Hannover, Germany); Literature (S. E. M. S. Nassarawa State, Nigeria); Former Associate Editor, “Periscope Magazine,” Abuja and Columnist, “Seekers Delight Magazine,” Kaduna.

I simply try to question the ‘happy darkness’ by encouraging more hands to minimize ignorance. Just a dose of knowledge, is enough in training the mind, to conform to nothing except truth. Let’s ride this train together!

Send a message, or for inquiries to  francisaquaticus2@gmail.com

Submit your work (researches, stories, articles, etc)  here.

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