On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution was certified for ratification. The 14th amendment guarantees the rights and privileges of citizenship to all persons born or naturalized as U.S. citizens. The 14th amendment (along with the 13th and 15th amendments) was one of the “Reconstruction amendments” passed in the aftermath of the Civil War. These amendments abolished slavery and established voting and citizenship rights primarily for African American men. These rights were later extended to women and other ethnic groups.The 14th amendment has four sections. The first section has four clauses: the citizenship clause, the privileges and immunities clause, the due process clause, and the equal protection clause. These clauses limit states’ authority in determining the rights of U.S. citizens.The clauses of the 14th amendment—especially the equal protection clause—are among the most litigated and controversial in U.S. history. Plyer v. Doe is an interpretation of the citizenship clause. It prevents states from denying public-school funding to undocumented immigrants. Roe v. Wade is an interpretation of the due process clause. It allows a woman to have an abortion under certain circumstances. Brown v. Board of Education is an interpretation of the equal protection clause. It prohibits public schools from segregating students and facilities based on race.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry 14th amendment Noun
update to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing all citizens equal protection and due process under the law.
to wipe out or get rid of.
surgical removal of an embryo or fetus to end a pregnancy.
change made to a law or set of laws.
person or organization responsible for making decisions.
condition or situation.
member of a country, state, or town who shares responsibilities for the area and benefits from being a member.
Civil War Noun
(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).
one part of a contract, treaty, or other agreement.
system of ideas and general laws that guide a nation, state, or other organization.
questionable or leading to argument.
to refuse or not allow
due process Noun administration of justice, according to which no citizen may be denied his or her legal rights. establish Verb
to form or officially organize.
ethnic group Adjective
people sharing genetic characteristics, culture, language, religion or history.
to enlarge or continue.
money or finances.
to promise or confirm.
way of understanding an event or set of facts.
to bring and proceed with a lawsuit.
to officially confer the rights and privileges of a citizen on a person not born a citizen of a nation.
first or most important.
benefit or special right.
arbitrary grouping of people based on genetics and physical characteristics.
(1865-1877) period during which the states formerly belonging to the Confederate States of America were transformed and integrated back into the United States following the Civil War.
specific freedom or opportunity granted to an individual or organization based on the law.
to separate or set apart.
process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.
undocumented immigrant Noun
person who has migrated to a nation without following the immigration laws of that nation.