Tuesday, December 7, 2010

14th Amendment Video

"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.

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.

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.
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.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."
- 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The purpose of the 14th amendment, from my personal understanding, class, and our textbook was to give legal effect to the Civil Rights Bill of 1866. The goal of both of the 14th amendment and the Civil Rights Bill were to put an end to the criminal black codes established under former rebel States (specifically southern states) that at the time was being administered by President Andrew Johnson. One thing that I think is important to note is that under the original Constitution, citizens of the United States were required to be first a citizen of some State - something newly emancipated citizens could not claim. This is why it was imperative for the first section to begin with a definition of citizenship so that no State could refuse recognition of newly freed slaves as U.S. citizens by withholding the right to protection of the laws in life, liberty or property in the courts as enjoyed by white citizens. As someone of African American descent, I find this amendment to be of great importance, because my relatives (even though now deceased) were able to have the right to be citizens; citizens with the rights that everyone else had.

Because the 14th amendment goes hand in hand with Civil Rights (how it gave legal affect to the Civil Rights Bill of 1866) I decided to find a video that talked about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 14th amendment gave way to this Act by stressing the importance of citizenship. I liked this video because it is student made and easy to understand while getting the essential details across.

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