Cast your vote now for the 14th Amendment to be displayed first in the new Rubenstein Gallery. Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, the Historian of the National Archives.
Why should the 14th Amendment be ranked first on any list of most important documents?
A constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship for all, Federal protection of due process, and the mandate for equal protection under the law—each could individually be considered among the most significant legislation in U.S. history. And all three are included in just the first section of the 14th Amendment.
The amendment originated after the Civil War when Congress tried passing legislation to secure civil rights for the recently freed slaves. President Andrew Johnson repeatedly vetoed these bills because he believed individual states had the right to determine the status of freedmen without interference from the Federal government.
In order to take the issue out of Johnson’s reach, Congress chose to address civil rights with a constitutional amendment. On June 13, 1866, Congress approved a five-part amendment to the Constitution and on July 9, 1868, the 14th Amendment became law.
Section one of the amendment includes its most vital components.
First, the Citizenship Clause ensured that anyone born in the United States—regardless of … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on September 30, 2013, under - Civil Rights, - Civil War, News and Events.
Tags: 14th Amendment, birthright citizenship, Brown v. Board of Education, Chinese American, Citizenship Clause, Civil Rights Acts of 1964, civil war, Defense of Marriage Act, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, interracial marriage, President Andrew Johnson, Records of Rights, slaves, Southern Black Codes, three-fifth rule, vote, Wong Kim Ark