Moving to Amend: How One Social Movement Aims to Restore Democracy and Abolish Corporate Personhood

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeffrey Unsicker


The role of money in the American political system has come under increasing scrutiny in the past five years in the wake of the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that campaign advertisements are a form of free speech and that limiting them was unconstitutional in light of the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech. This decision ultimately reinforced the idea of corporate personhood in which money equals speech and corporations are considered people. A number of groups have taken issue with this ruling and have rallied around various solutions to dealing with the influx of money into our political process, arguing that powerful corporations are able to “buy” elections by outspending their opponents. This paper will focus on Move to Amend, a national organization whose sole purpose is to rally support for a Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Their amendment would not only overturn this decision but also abolish corporate personhood for good and maintain first amendment rights for “natural persons” only. While a variety of alternative policy solutions have been proposed (including other versions of an amendment) by various elected officials and organizations, Move to Amend believes anything less than their proposed amendment would be a “dilution” of their goals and thus have chosen to remain semi-autonomous in their efforts. This paper, following guidelines for Policy Advocacy course-linked capstones, examines the organization’s campaign to amend the Constitution and analyzes the political and strategic dimensions of its campaign. Drawing insights from literature, personal interviews, and other current campaigns addressing the issue, it evaluates the degree to which Move to Amend is achieving its goals and identifies general lessons for advocacy practitioners.


American Politics | Political Economy | Political Science | Politics and Social Change

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