Due process and equality

July 9, 2013 Comments Off on Due process and equality

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868.


Slave auction block at Green Hill Plantation, Campbell County, Virginia. The Library of Congress



It granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

“By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.”

~ from  Library of Congress, Primary Documents in American History

The amendment had been rejected by most Southern states but was ratified by the required three-fourths of the states. Known as the “Reconstruction Amendment.”

A notable passing…

Appropriate to this day we also remember Edmund S. Morgan, award winning historian and author, who has died at 97.   Among his works…

American Slavery, American Freedom” is essential to understanding how slavery developed here, and that it wasn’t necessarily inevitable.  A wonderfully written scholarly masterpiece.

It explores the paradox of slavery and freedom in colonial Virginia.  For which he won the Society of American Historians’ Francis Parkman Prize, the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Prize and the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge Award.

“To Morgan the simultaneous rise of slavery and freedom is the most cruel paradox of American history. Americans revolted in 1776 to escape what some perceived as the tyrannies of Englishmen, but even as the revolutionaries boldly professed themselves votaries of liberty and equality, they perpetuated a labor system more oppressive in its exploitation of men than any act of the British government.”

Due process and equality was originally published on FieldGrass


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