Passed by Congress June 13, 1866, ratified July 9, 1868, and certified on July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment intended to extend liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves.
Following the Civil War, Congress submitted to the states three amendments as part of its Reconstruction program to guarantee equal civil and legal rights to black citizens. The major provision of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves. Another equally important provision was the statement that “nor shall any state 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 right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments. On June 16, 1866, the House Joint Resolution proposing the 14th amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the states. On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment was declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State, ratified by the necessary 28 of the 37 States, and became part of the supreme law of the land.
Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio, the primary author of the first section of the 14th amendment, intended that the amendment also nationalize the Federal Bill of Rights by making it binding upon the states. Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, introducing the amendment, specifically stated that the privileges and immunities clause would extend to the states “the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments.” Historians disagree on how widely Bingham’s and Howard’s views were shared at the time in the Congress, or across the country in general. No one in Congress explicitly contradicted their view of the Amendment, but only a few members said anything at all about its meaning on this issue. For many years, the Supreme Court ruled that the Amendment did not extend the Bill of Rights to the states.
Not only did the 14th amendment fail to extend the Bill of Rights to the states; it also failed to protect the rights of black citizens. One legacy of Reconstruction was the determined struggle of black and white citizens to make the promise of the 14th amendment a reality. Citizens petitioned and initiated court cases, Congress enacted legislation, and the executive branch attempted to enforce measures that would guard all citizens’ rights. While these citizens did not succeed in empowering the 14th amendment during the Reconstruction, they effectively articulated arguments and offered dissenting opinions that would be the basis for change in the 20th century.
via Our Documents
"High-scalers at work on the Arizona intake towers location some 550’ above the level of the Colorado River. The background seen is the Nevada side of the canyon.", 07/28/1932
Photograph from a series documenting the construction of Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Nevada.
It’s the birthday of Jacqueline Kennedy - born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on July 28, 1929 in Southhampton, New York. At age 31 she became the First Lady of the United States, a role she filled with her passion for history and the arts.
Jacqueline’s first major project as first lady was to restore and preserve the White House. She enlisted the aid of many experts, established a White House Fine Arts Committee, and created the post of White House curator. Gathering outstanding examples of American art and furniture from around the United States (including many items that had belonged to former presidents and their families), she restored all the public rooms in the White House.
The results of her work are still visible in Lafayette Square, across from the White House in Washington, D.C. While she was first lady, she helped to stop the destruction of historic buildings along the square, including the Renwick Building, now part of the Smithsonian Institution. In New York City, she led a campaign to save and renovate Grand Central Station. Today, more than 500,000 people pass through each day and enjoy its restored beauty, thanks to her efforts.
Jacqueline Kennedy captivated the nation and the rest of the world with her intelligence, beauty, and grace.
Happy birthday, Jackie!
And for those of us who can’t get enough of JBK (and really, who can?), we recommend exploring the Kennedy Library’s Life of Jacqueline B. Kennedy.