Section 1983 (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Section 1983 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code is part of the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT of 1871. This provision was formerly enacted as part of the KU KLUX KLAN ACT of 1871 and was originally designed to combat post-CIVIL WAR racial violence in the Southern states. Reenacted as part of the Civil Rights Act, section 1983 is as of the early 2000s the primary means of enforcing all constitutional rights.
Section 1983 provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
On March 23, 1871, President ULYSSES S. GRANT sent an urgent message to Congress calling for national legislation that could combat the alarming increase in racial unrest and violence in the South. Congress reacted swiftly to this request, proposing a bill just five days later. The primary objective of the bill was to provide a means for individuals and states to enforce, in the federal or state courts, the provisions of the FOURTEENTH...
(The entire section is 3321 words.)
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