How does social change pertain to the 14th Amendment?This is for a class "law and social change" discussion

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Social change can be defined as alterations in the relationships between groups in a society and/or in the institutions of a society.  From this definition, it is clear that the 14th Amendment eventually led to a great deal of social change in the United States.

The 14th Amendment was meant to give all citizens of the United States (it was particularly meant for African Americans since it was passed right after the Civil War) the equal protection of the laws.  Though it did not do that right away, by the 1960s it had come to be used to eliminate things like segregation and discrimination.  This changed the relations between African Americans and whites.  It was also used to change relations between men and women, with women getting some amount of protection under the amendment.

Finally, a lesser-known way in which the 14th Amendment led to social change was through the "selective incorporation" of the Bill of Rights.  This doctrine holds that the 14th Amendment means that states (and not just the federal government) have to abide by the Bill of Rights.  This had an immense impact on the institutions of society, particularly those having to do with criminal justice.