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The Fourteenth Amendment: It probably is the most important, and one of the most controversial, amendments to the US Constitution outside of the Bill of Rights. It is an amendment that gives great power to the Federal Government, and helped balance the scales, and it is probably one of the most misunderstood.

Though it’s not like I have fourteenth amendment viewing parties or anything so maybe everyone gets it just fine. 😛

But its one that has a good side, a bad side, and an ugly side…well the bad and the ugly sort of related to each other.

First of all…what is the 14th Amendment? For those of you who do not know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

It is an amendment that basically gave citizen rights to African-Americans, protected their due process, gave equal protection under the law, and allowed for the application of certain parts of the Bill of Rights and other Federal regulations to be applied to the states.

For the most part this has been a good thing, it has allowed certain rights that we take for granted…mainly the first and second…to be applied to the states meaning that states cannot outlaw speech and guns etc.

It finally allowed the Government to take action to protect the citizens from dangerous growth of the State Governments, as that was one of the main causes of the Civil War.

It altered much of the fabric of the country and its history that has ripples all the way to today.

But many of the debates that exist in the country can be traced back to the Fourteenth Amendment. It spans from this debate even if it has nothing to do with the actual amendment.

From Gay Marriage, to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell…equal protection…from the Illegal Immigration debate…should we continue to let people born here be American citizens?… to the abortion debate…. if you could not have had the BOR be applied to the states then they would have had to come up with another excuse…and also equal protection from the law…women have reproductive rights!

It has given arise to much of the political debates and has been used to explain both good, and dangerous, the good, the bad and the ugly.

And it was a focal point, ever since then America has not been the same.

But its effects have mostly been positive, and if we want to mess with any part of it, we have to understand it.

And being such a prominent part of our Government, we have to understand it if we hope to understand our Government and move on from here.

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One Comment

  1. WOW…yeah in just reading some of the info found in the wiki link you provided….I got a headache. And then the ratifications of it and rescinded ratifications and such…yeah it would take a lot to fully understand it… I mean really understand it. I think we all know generally what it stands for…but to get into the nitty gritty of it….well that would take some time and patience. 😮


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