What is the 14th Amendment?
The 14th Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868, during the Reconstruction Era of the United States. The 14th Amendment declared that all persons born or naturalized were U.S. Citizens.
So, basically if someone was born in the U.S. or naturalized they were considered a U.S. citizen. And it also declared that all citizens were entitled to equal rights regardless of race. So the 14th Amendment basically did two things.
First, it defined who a U.S. citizen was, and then it said that all of these citizens have equal rights. Now the amendment fell short of giving black men the right to vote, but it paved the way for the 15th Amendment, which did give black men the right to vote. Now, this amendment angered women’s rights activists because it made the right to vote a male right. And it wasn’t much later until the 19th Amendment that women were given the right to vote.
Now the major impact of the 14th Amendment is that human rights were granted at the state as well as the national level through the due process clause. So I’m going to write that on the board because that’s really important to remember.
The Due Process Clause. So the 14th Amendment said that all people – all citizens – cannot be convicted of a crime unless they’ve been through the due process of law. And so we could also say that the 14th Amendment granted due process to all citizens. So basically someone these minority groups or the black people couldn’t be discriminated against by the court system. They were given the same rights to a fair trial under the Bill of Rights that white Americans were given as well. So again the 14th Amendment did basically two things. It defined who U.S. citizens were and said that they were all given equal rights.