Fourteenth Amendment (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: A definition of citizenship designed for former slaves provides protection against state violations of civil rights.
Summary of Event
The Fourteenth Amendment was part of the plan for Reconstruction formulated by the Republican majority in the Thirty-ninth Congress. Before Congress met in December, 1865, President Andrew Johnson had authorized the restoration of white self-government in the former Confederate states, and the congressmen and senators from those states waited in Washington to be seated in Congress. The state legislatures elected under Johnson’s program had met to develop a series of laws called Black Codes, which restricted the rights of the former slaves. While the Republican majority in Congress had no intention of permitting the Johnson approach to Reconstruction to prevail or of seating the unrepentant white Southern representatives, they had no comprehensive counterproposal. To gain time and to work out a positive approach, Republicans in the House and the Senate created the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Reconstruction. This committee was composed of six senators and nine representatives.
The Republican majority rejected Johnson’s plan because, as the Black Codes demonstrated, the old Confederates could not be trusted to respect the rights of the freedmen. Moreover, the Republicans had no intention of permitting white Southerners, whom they regarded as rebels and...
(The entire section is 1279 words.)
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Fourteenth Amendment (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution reads:
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...
(The entire section is 2844 words.)