Updating the fourteenth amendment
In the wake of the Civil War, three amendments were added to the U. During this time, the nation struggled with what role four million newly freed slaves would assume in American life.
The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery (1865), the Fourteenth Amendment made freed slaves citizens of the United States and the state wherein they lived (1868), and the Fifteenth Amendment gave the vote to men of any race (1870).
The Fourteenth Amendment represented a great expansion of the power of the national government over the states.
It has been cited in more Supreme Court cases than any other part of the Constitution.
Section 2: When any state denies the right to vote at any election to any of its male citizens of voting age, its representation in elections for national offices will be reduced in the same proportion.
(Basically, if a state excludes African Americans, then it will be given proportionally fewer seats in the U. House of Representatives and fewer votes in the presidential electoral college.) Section 3: No person who has engaged in or supported insurrection or rebellion against the United States may hold public office.
With the triumph of the Radical Republicans in Congress, the Constitution was amended to grant full citizenship to former slaves and promise them equal treatment under the law, a promise that took more than a century to fulfill.
Of the Civil War Amendments, the Fourteenth Amendment had the most far-reaching effect on the meaning of the Constitution.
But its urgency as an issue relies on fears about irreversible cultural change — that continuing to grant birthright citizenship will result in the loss of something irreducibly American.Section 4: All debts incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States and all compensation claims made for emancipation of any slave will be held as illegal and void. Secretary of State certified that it had been ratified by twenty-eight of the thirty-seven states.