The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.
This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.
- June 8, 1866 – The Senate passed the 14th Amendment by a vote of 33 to 11.
- June 13, 1866 – The House of Representatives passed the 14th Amendment by a vote of 120 to 32.
- June 16, 1866 – The text of the 14th Amendment can be found in the United States Statutes at Large, volume 14, page 358 (14 Stat. 358).
- June 22, 1866 – President Andrew Johnson submitted a message to Congress announcing that the Fourteenth Amendment had been sent to the states for ratification. Johnson voiced his displeasure with the amendment by stating that his actions should “be considered as purely ministerial, and in no sense whatever committing the Executive to an approval or a recommendation of the amendment to the State legislatures or to the people.”
- July 28, 1868 – Secretary of State William Seward issued a proclamation certifying the ratification of the 14th Amendment by the states.
Search in the 39th Congress to find additional legislative information on the 14th Amendment.
“African American Perspectives” gives a panoramic and eclectic review of African American history and culture from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900.
- The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution considered : the right to pursue any lawful trade or avocation, without other restraint than such as equally affects all persons, is one of the privileges of citizens of the United States which can not be abridged by state legislation / dissenting opinions of Mr. Justice Field, Mr. Justice Bradley, and Mr. Justice Swayne, of U.S. Supreme Court, in the New Orleans slaughter-house cases.
- Negro suffrage : should the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments be repealed? / Speech of Hon. Edward De V. Morrell, of Pennsylvania, in the House of Representatives, Monday, April 4, 1904.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) is a library of nearly 800 books and pamphlets documenting the suffrage campaign. They were collected between 1890 and 1938 by members of NAWSA and donated to the Rare Books Division of the Library of Congress on November 1, 1938. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt, president of NAWSA from 1900-1904, and again from 1915-1920.
- Suffrage conferred by the Fourteenth amendment : woman’s suffrage in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, in general term, October, 1871 : Sara J. Spencer vs. The Board of Registration, and Sarah E. Webster vs. The Judges of Election : argument of the counsel for the plaintiffs : with the opinions of the court
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
The Chronicling America site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Search this collection to find newspaper articles about the 14th Amendment.
A selection of articles on the 14th Amendment includes:
- “Passage of the Constitutional Amendment by the Senate,” The Evening Telegraph. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), June 9, 1866.
- “The Constitutional Amendment Passed by the House,” The Sun. (New York [N.Y.]), June 14, 1866.
- “The President on the Amendment,” The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, S.C.), June 24, 1866.
- “Reconstruction: Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment,” New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]), July 20, 1868.
The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated) contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law. This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic. It includes a chapter on the 14th Amendment.
This exhibition showcases the African American collections of the Library of Congress. Displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings.
This exhibition, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, explores the events that shaped the civil rights movement, as well as the far-reaching impact the act had on a changing society.
Law Library of Congress
Law Library of Congress page on the Fourteenth Amendment and the history of the citizenship clause.
Today in History
On July 28, 1868, Secretary of State William Seward issued a proclamation certifying without reservation that the Fourteenth Amendment was a part of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court ruled separate-but-equal facilities constitutional on intrastate railroads. For fifty years, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision upheld the principle of racial segregation.
On June 2, 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. The right to vote, however, was governed by state law; until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.