14th Amendment to the Constitution

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14th Amendment and the Bill of Rights

14th Amendment History, 14th Amendment Constitution Purpose, 14th Amendment Summary, 14th Amendment Definition, 14th Amendment Due Process Equal Protection Clause Rights, 14th Amendment Results

14th Amendment
The 14th Amendment* to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the rights of citizens and other persons:

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Proposal and Ratification

The Congress proposed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States on June 13, 1866. Per Article Five of the Constitution, twenty-eight of the thirty-seven states were needed for ratification of the 14th Amendment. By July 9, 1868, twenty-eight states had ratified the Amendment:
# State Date
1 Connecticut Jun 25, 1866
2 New Hampshire Jul 6, 1866
3 Tennessee Jul 19, 1866
4 New Jersey Sep 11, 1866
5 Oregon Sep 19, 1866
6 Vermont Oct 30, 1866
7 Ohio Jan 4, 1867
8 New York Jan 10, 1867
9 Kansas Jan 11, 1867
10 Illinois Jan 15, 1867
11 West Virginia Jan 16, 1867
12 Michigan Jan 16, 1867
13 Minnesota Jan 16, 1867
14 Maine Jan 19, 1867
15 Nevada Jan 22, 1867
16 Indiana Jan 23, 1867
17 Missouri Jan 25, 1867
18 Rhode Island Feb 7, 1867
19 Wisconsin Feb 7, 1867
20 Pennsylvania Feb 12, 1867
21 Massachusetts Mar 20, 1867
22 Nebraska Jun 15, 1867
23 Iowa Mar 16, 1868
24 Arkansas Apr 6, 1868
25 Florida Jun 9, 1868
26 North Carolina Jul 4, 1868
27 Louisiana Jul 9, 1868
28 South Carolina Jul 9, 1868
29 Alabama Jul 13, 1868
30 Georgia Jul 21, 1868
31 Virginia Oct 8, 1869
32 Mississippi Jan 17, 1870
33 Texas Feb 18, 1870
34 Delaware Feb 12, 1901
35 Maryland Apr 4, 1959
36 California May 6, 1959
37 Kentucky Mar 18, 1976

*No guaranteed rights for the original inhabitants and residents of present-day United States:
While African Americans received citizenship with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, American Indians, or Native Americans, on the other hand, were denied citizenship for more than another half-century. "Life, liberty, or property" was not guaranteed or applicable to the initial inhabitants of the land, and, without citizenship, Native Americans were herded onto reservations or hunted like wild animals. On June 2, 1924, however, with passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, America's indigenous peoples became United States citizens.

Sources: Library of Congress (Primary Documents in American History); U.S. Constitution Online; National Park Service

Recommended Reading: Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America. From Publishers Weekly: In December 1865, the 39th Congress had urgent business, says Epps in this passionate account of Reconstruction politics. If the former Confederate states were readmitted to the Union, ex-slaves would swell those states' congressional power, but without congressional protection, the freedmen would never be allowed to vote, and the Southern white elite would have disproportionate influence in the federal government. Epps follows every twist of Congress's response to this problem, and his energetic prose transforms potentially tedious congressional debates into riveting reading. Continued below…

He illuminates the fine points, such as the distinction in the 19th century between civil rights—relating to property and employment, which many thought blacks should have—and political rights, which some thought only educated men of wealth should have. Congressmen were not the only people energized by the conundrums of electoral representation. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton petitioned for women's suffrage on the same grounds as blacks. While Congress hammered out the 14th and 15th Amendments, white Southerners were putting in place the Jim Crow codes that would subvert those amendments until the 1960s. As constitutional scholar and novelist Epps (The Shad Treatment) notes in a rousing afterword, there are many corners in which they are not fully realized today.

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Recommended Reading: No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights. From Library Journal: Curtis effectively settles a serious legal debate: whether the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to incorporate the Bill of Rights guarantees and thereby inhibit state action. Taking on a formidable array of constitutional scholars, with the Attorney General in the wings, he rebuts their argument with vigor and effectiveness, conclusively demonstrating the legitimacy of the incorporation thesis. He does so by placing the Amendment in the stew of history: by examining first the historical context, and then Republican ideology as reflected in legislative debate over the 13th and 14th amendments as well as over the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Taking the legal story down to the present, Curtis traces the Court's gradual acceptance of incorporation, until Cardozo in Palko and then until the Burger Court. A bold, forcefully argued, important study.

Recommended Reading: We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court. Description: Several of the most divisive moral conflicts that have beset Americans in the period since World War II have been transmuted into constitutional conflicts and resolved as such. In his new book, eminent legal scholar Michael Perry evaluates the grave charge that the modern Supreme Court has engineered a "judicial usurpation of politics." In particular, Perry inquires which of several major Fourteenth Amendment conflicts--over race segregation, race-based affirmative action, sex-based discrimination, homosexuality, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide--have been resolved as they should have been. He lays the necessary groundwork for his inquiry by addressing questions of both constitutional theory and constitutional history. A clear-eyed examination of some of the perennial controversies in American life, We the People is a major contribution to modern constitutional studies.

Recommended Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Library of Religious Biography). Description: Since its original publication in 1999, "Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President" has garnered numerous accolades, including the prestigious 2000 Lincoln Prize. Allen Guelzo's peerless biography of America's most celebrated president is now available for the first time in a fine paperback edition. The first "intellectual biography" of Lincoln, this work explores the role of ideas in Lincoln's life, treating him as a serious thinker deeply involved in the nineteenth-century debates over politics, religion, and culture. Written with passion and dramatic impact, Guelzo's masterful study offers a revealing new perspective on a man whose life was in many ways a paradox. As journalist Richard N. Ostling notes, "Much has been written about Lincoln's belief and disbelief," but Guelzo's extraordinary account "goes deeper."


Recommended Reading: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States) (Hardcover: 952 pages). Description: Published in 1988 to universal acclaim, this single-volume treatment of the Civil War quickly became recognized as the new standard in its field. James M. McPherson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this book, impressively combines a brisk writing style with an admirable thoroughness. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. Continued below...

It flows into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering by each side, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as Manifest Destiny, Popular Sovereignty, Sectionalism, and slavery expansion issues in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict. The South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war, slavery, and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty. . Perhaps more than any other book, this one belongs on the bookshelf of every Civil War buff.

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