In 1982, Gregory Watson was a sophomore at the University of Texas, and he opted to write a term paper about constitutional amendments for a class. As part of his research, Watson discovered that an amendment proposed way back in 1789 limited congresspeople’s ability to raise their own salary. But it had never been ratified, partly because it had been more or less forgotten about, and partly because Congress likes money.
Watson wrote his paper about the proposed amendment, noting that nobody had ever put a time limit on it, so technically, after nearly two centuries, it could still be ratified. The class TA gave him a C, insisting that nobody cared about an obscure old amendment proposal about congressional salaries and that the idea that it could still be ratified was crazy, no matter how much “evidence” he dug up. Watson appealed to his professor, who told him the same thing.
Now, a C grade is the kind of mark most of us aspire to see one day, but Watson took it as an insult. There was only one way to prove that he was right, and that was to ratify the hell out of that amendment.