14th Amendment Constitution Union Reunification Slavery

The origin of the 14th amendment came during the American Civil War; before and after the war, former slaves (Blacks) were not considered citizens. Ultimately the 14th amendment was ratified in succession to its predecessor the 13th
Amendment, that abolished slavery.

The Civil War was a struggle to reunify the Union, but most still believe the war was fought to give freedom to the slaves in the Confederate South. At the same time Amendments passed during and after the war would strengthen the government at the federal level.

Amendment 14 to the Constitution

Section 1

A. All persons born or naturalized in the United States are subject to the laws of the United States.

B. Therefore are citizens of the United States and of the state where they reside.

C. States do not have the power to enforce any law that infringes on the immunities or privileges of U.S citizens.

D. States shall not 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.

The first section is a clear message of who is boss in post Civil War America. Federally the American Government is aiming towards peaceful reunification- by granting full citizenship to everyone born in the United States. Due to the racism and discrimination at the local and state level, in the former Confederate South, the 14th Amendment intents to grant citizenship to the future offspring of recently freed slaves.

The states get an honorable mention in Section 1 because since the founding of America and in the years leading up to the war, the political struggle was between the states and the federal government. The leaders of the time clearly saw the opportunity to centralize power thus making another civil war virtually impossible.

Section 2 

A. Representation should be appointed according to the population of the states.

B. Voting age is set at 21

Section 3

A. No person can hold public office that has participated in a rebellion against the state, or given aid or comfort to enemies.

Section 4

A. Deals with debts.

Section 5

A. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The 14th Amendment clearly defines the requirements to gain U.S citizenship. It also establishes protections for all citizens regardless of the state they reside in. This Amendment broadened the powers of the American Federal Government.