What is the relationship between the 14th Amendment and the Bill of Rights?

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jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While it is undoubtedly true that the Fourteenth Amendment provided the nation with its first clear-cut definition of citizenship and the presumed entitlement of all citizens to due process, it also gave corporations an opportunity to capitalize on the amendment's broad definition of "equal protection under the law."  

In the 1905 case Lochner v. New York the Supreme Court ruled that a New York law which set maximum hours for bakers was unconstitutional. The Court reasoned that the law interfered with the ability of workers to negotiate their own terms. It asserted that states had no right to interfere in the negotiations of workers and employers because the right to buy and sell labor was viewed as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. 

This decision, which ushered in "the Lochner Era," a period in which corporations and other business exploited the labor of employees with impunity, was overturned in 1937 by the Court's West Coast Hotel v. Parrish decision. Predictably, the need to protect workers during the Great Depression was more imperative than any presumed "equality" between employees and the contractors who negotiated their terms.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most commonly cited relationship between the 14th Amendment and the Bill of Rights is that the 14th Amendment has been used to "incorporate" the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights, as written, applies only to the federal government.  This means that state governments did not originally have to respect the rights given in the first 10 amendments.  Beginning in the early 1900s, the Supreme Court said that the 14th Amendment means that the Bill of Rights applies to state governments as well.  It does this because it says that states cannot deprive people of their "liberty" without due process of the law.  The Court has said that this means states cannot deprive people of their rights under the Bill of Rights.

krishna-agrawala | Student

In the USA Bill of Rights refers to the document defining fundamental rights of people and which were incorporated in toe US constitution by the first ten amendments to the Constitution that came into effect in 1791. And the Fourteenth amendment, adopted in 1868, provides, among other things, a broad definition of citizenship, which ensured that the blacks are also considered citizens of the USA. It also expressly prohibits states form enacting any law or taking any action that abridges the fundamental rights or freedom of people. In this way the fourteenth amendment made the application the bills of rights much more effective in two ways. It made sure that the fundamental rights are enjoyed by all people irrespective of their race or other similar sectarian considerations. Further, it removed any ambiguity that may have existed about the power of states to abridge the fundamental rights of the people.