Wednesday, December 26, 2007


FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT Proposed on June 16, 1866 and declared ratified on July 28, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provided that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including African Amer­icans, were henceforth to be considered citizens of the United States and of the state in which they resided. Aside from this guarantee of citizenship, the amendment attempted to nullify the so-called "black codes" recently enacted by southern states in an attempt to legally evade the Thirteenth Amendment. Ac­cordingly, it was stated that 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."

Additionally, the Fourteenth Amendment nullified the so-called "Three-Fifths Compromise" by asserting that if any state within the Union denied the suffrage to any of its adult male citizens, including African Americans, then its representation in Congress would be proportionately reduced. Other sections of the amend­ment include the prohibition that former federal officials who had served the Confederacy could not hold state or federal office unless specifically pardoned by Congress, and the requirement that former Confederate states repudiate their debts as a con­dition for readmission to the Union. See also: BLACK CODES, THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT and THREE-FIFTHS COM­PROMISE.

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