The Fourteenth Amendment Explained

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The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1868, addresses key issues of civil rights and equal protection under the law. Its first section grants citizenship to all individuals born or naturalized in the U.S., ensuring that former slaves, who were previously denied citizenship, were now recognized as citizens. This clause is often referred to as the Citizenship Clause.

The second section of the Fourteenth Amendment introduces the Equal Protection Clause, stating that no state shall deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This clause has been crucial in legal battles against discrimination, forming the basis for various landmark Supreme Court decisions on civil rights.

Furthermore, the third section of the amendment addresses the consequences for individuals who, having taken an oath to support the Constitution, later engage in rebellion or insurrection. It provides a mechanism for disqualifying such individuals from holding public office unless Congress grants them a pardon. The Fourteenth Amendment, with its Citizenship and Equal Protection Clauses, has played a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape of civil rights in the United States.