Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
|United States Constitution|
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed by Congress on June 13, 1866. It was ratified July 9, 1868. The Fourteenth Amendment is one of the post-Civil War amendments (known as the Reconstruction Amendments), first intended to secure rights for former slaves. It includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses among others. It was proposed on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868.
Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourteenth Amendment was perhaps the most significant structural change to the Constitution since the passage of the United States Bill of Rights. The amendment provides an expanded definition of United States citizenship, overturning the Dred Scott case, which excluded African Americans. It requires the states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons (not only to citizens) within their jurisdictions, and was used in the mid-20th century to dismantle legal segregation, as in Brown v. Board of Education. Its Due Process Clause has driven much important and controversial case law regarding privacy rights, abortion (see Roe v. Wade), and other issues.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the amendment in its original form. Sections that are linked have since been amended or superseded.
Text of Section 1:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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.
Text of Section 2:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Text of Section 3:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Text of Section 4:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Text of Section 5:
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.