The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would shield "domestic institutions" of the states from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress. Although the Corwin Amendment does not explicitly mention slavery, it was designed to protect slavery from federal power. Congress proposed the Corwin Amendment on March 2, 1861, shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, but it was not ratified by the requisite number of states. In the period after the 1860 presidential election, several Southern states announced their secession and formed the Confederate States of America. During this period, several legislative measures, including the Corwin Amendment, were proposed in the hope of either reconciling the sections of the United States, or avoiding the secession of the border states. Senator William H. Seward and Representative Thomas Corwin introduced the Corwin Amendment, endorsed by President James Buchanan.
The amendment had been ratified by just five states by June 1863, far short of the number required for ratification, with the amendment falling out of favor during the Civil War. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State; the text refers to slavery with terms such as "domestic institutions" and "persons held to labor or service" and avoids using the word "slavery", following the example set at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which referred to slavery in its draft of the Constitution with comparable descriptions of legal status: "Person held to Service", "the whole Number of free Persons... three fifths of all other Persons", "The Migration and Importation of such Persons". In December 1860, when the second session of the 36th Congress was convened, the deepening rift between slave states and free states was erupting into a secession crisis.
The Senate formed a "Committee of Thirteen" to investigate possibile legislative measures that might solve the slavery predicamet. The House formed a "Committee of Thirty-three" with the same objective. More than 200 resolutions with respect to slavery, including 57 resolutions proposing constitutional amendments, were introduced in Congress. Most represented compromises designed to avert military conflict. Senator Jefferson Davis proposed one. A group of House members proposed a national convention to accomplish secession as a "dignified and fair separation" that could settle questions like the equitable distribution of the federal government's assets and rights to navigate the Mississippi River. Senator John J. Crittenden proposed a compromise consisting of six constitutional amendments and four Congressional resolutions, which were tabled on December 31. On January 14, 1861, House committee submitted a plan calling for an amendment to protect slavery, enforce fugitive slave laws, repeal state personal liberty laws.
The proposed constitutional amendment declared: No amendment of this Constitution, having for its object any interference within the States with the relations between their citizens and those described in second section of the first article of the Constitution as "all other persons", shall originate with any State that does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the Union. While the House debated the measure over the ensuing weeks, Florida, Georgia and Texas had joined South Carolina in seceding from the Union; the contentious atmosphere in the House during the debate was relieved by abolitionist Republican Owen Lovejoy of Illinois, who questioned the amendment's reach: "Does that include polygamy, the other twin relic of barbarism?" Missouri Democrat John S. Phelps answered: "Does the gentleman desire to know whether he shall be prohibited from committing that crime?"On February 26, Congressman Thomas Corwin, who had chaired the earlier House committee, introduced his own text as a substitute, but it was not adopted.
The following day, after a series of preliminary votes, the House voted 123 to 71 in favor of the original resolution, but as this was below the required two-thirds majority, the measure was not passed. On February 28, the House returned to and approved Corwin's version by a vote of 133 to 65, just above the two-thirds threshold; the Senate took up the proposed amendment on March 2, 1861, debating its merits without a recess through the pre-dawn hours on March 4. When the final vote was taken the amendment passed with the needed two-thirds majority – 24-12. Soon afterward, it was sent to the states for ratification; the joint resolution containing the Corwin Amendment called for the amendment to be submitted to the state legislatures, as it was believed that the amendment had a greater chance of success in the legislatures of the Southern states than would have been the case in state ratifying conventions, given that state conventions were being conducted at that time throughout the South at which votes to secede from the Union were successful.
The Corwin Amendment was the second proposed "Thirteenth Amendment" submitted to the states by Congress. The first was the ill-fated Titles of Nobility Amendment in 1810. Outgoing President James Buchanan endorsed the Corwin Amendment by taking the unprecedented step of signing it, his signature on the Congressional joint resolution was unnecessary, as the President has no formal role in the constitutional amendment process. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, said of the Corwin Amendm
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote, it overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified; the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification, it was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
In Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states. At that time, all states denied voting rights to women. While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women's suffrage movement took hold during the Reconstruction era. During this period, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments. Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide or protect a right to vote to women. Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory and Washington Territory.
Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, several held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony and lobbying. There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865. In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were formed in 1869; the NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment; the Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate, he had attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.
Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved f
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses criminal procedure and other aspects of the Constitution. It was ratified in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights; the Fifth Amendment applies to every level of the government, including the federal and local levels, as well as any corporation, private enterprise, group, or individual, or any foreign government in regards to a US citizen or resident of the US. The Supreme Court furthered the protections of this amendment through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. One provision of the Fifth Amendment requires that felonies be tried only upon indictment by a grand jury. Another provision, the Double Jeopardy Clause, provides the right of defendants to be tried only once in federal court for the same offense; the self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant. "Pleading the Fifth" is a colloquial term used to invoke the self-incrimination clause when witnesses decline to answer questions where the answers might incriminate them.
In the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court held that the self-incrimination clause requires the police to issue a Miranda warning to criminal suspects interrogated while under police custody; the Fifth Amendment contains the Takings Clause, which allows the federal government to take private property for public use if the government provides "just compensation." Like the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment includes a due process clause stating that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Fifth Amendment's due process clause applies to the federal government, while the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause applies to state governments. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause as providing two main protections: procedural due process, which requires government officials to follow fair procedures before depriving a person of life, liberty, or property, substantive due process, which protects certain fundamental rights from government interference.
The Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause contains a prohibition against vague laws and an implied equal protection requirement similar to the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. On June 8, 1789, Congressman James Madison introduced several proposed constitutional amendments during a speech to the House of Representatives, his draft language that became the Fifth Amendment was as follows:No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or trial for the same offense. This draft was edited by Congress. After approval by Congress, the amendment was ratified by the states on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights.
Every one of the five clauses in the final amendment appeared in Madison's draft, in their final order those clauses are the Grand Jury Clause, the Double Jeopardy Clause, the Self Incrimination Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Takings Clause. The grand jury is a pre-constitutional common law institution, a constitutional fixture in its own right embracing common law; the process applies to the states to the extent that the states have incorporated grand juries and/or common law. Most states have an alternative civil process. "Although state systems of criminal procedure differ among themselves, the grand jury is guaranteed by many state constitutions and plays an important role in fair and effective law enforcement in the overwhelming majority of the States." Branzburg v. Hayes 1972. Grand juries, which return indictments in many criminal cases, are composed of a jury of peers and operate in closed deliberation proceedings. Many constitutional restrictions that apply in court or in other situations do not apply during grand jury proceedings.
For example, the exclusionary rule does not apply to certain evidence presented to a grand jury. An individual does not have the right to have an attorney present in the grand jury room during hearings. An individual would have such a right during questioning by the police while in custody, but an individual testifying before a grand jury is free to le
Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. This amendment codifies the right to a jury trial in certain civil cases and inhibits courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact. An early version of the Seventh Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress proposed a revised version of the Seventh Amendment to the states on September 28, 1789, by December 15, 1791, the necessary three-quarters of the states had ratified it. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792; the Seventh Amendment is considered one of the more straightforward amendments of the Bill of Rights. While the Seventh Amendment's provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated every state voluntarily complies with this requirement; the prohibition of overturning a jury's findings of fact applies to federal cases, state cases involving federal law, to review of state cases by federal courts.
United States v. Wonson established the historical test, which interpreted the amendment as relying on English common law to determine whether a jury trial was necessary in a civil suit; the amendment thus does not guarantee trial by jury in cases under maritime law, in lawsuits against the government itself, for many parts of patent claims. In all other cases, the jury can be waived by consent of the parties; the amendment additionally guarantees a minimum of six members for a jury in a civil trial. The amendment's twenty dollar threshold has not been the subject of much scholarly or judicial writing and still remains applicable despite the inflation that has occurred since the late 18th century; the amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring a stronger chief executive and other changes. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties be included. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked implying that the federal government had power to violate every other right. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. In the final days of the convention, North Carolina delegate Hugh Williamson proposed a guarantee of trial by jury in federal civil cases, but a motion to add this guarantee was defeated.
However, adoption of the Constitution required that nine of the thirteen states ratify it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. One charge of the Anti-Federalists was that giving the U. S. Supreme Court jurisdiction "both as to law and fact" would allow it to deny the findings of jury trials in civil cases. Responding to these concerns, five state ratification conventions recommended a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to jury trial in civil cases. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments based on state bills of rights and English sources such as the Bill of Rights 1689. Among them was an amendment protecting findings of fact in civil cases exceeding a certain dollar value from judicial review.
Madison proposed that this amendment should be added directly to Article III, though Congress determined to add the proposed Bill of Rights to the end of the Constitution, leaving the original text intact. Congress reduced Madison's proposed twenty amendments to twelve, these were proposed to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789. By the time the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification, opinions had shifted in both parties. Many Federalists, who had opposed a Bill of Rights, now supported the Bill as a means of silencing the Anti-Federalists' most effective criticism. Many Anti-Federalists, in contrast, now opposed it, realizing that the Bill's adoption would lessen the chances of a second constitutional convention, which they desired. Anti-Federalists such as Richard Henry Lee argued that the Bill left the most objectionable portions of the Constitution, such as the federal judiciary and direct taxation, intact. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey ratified eleven of the twelve amendments, rejecting an amendment to regulate congressional pay raises.
On December 19 and 22 Maryland and North Carolina ratified all twelve amendments. On January 19, 25, 28, 1790 South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware ratified the Bill, though New Hampshire rejected the amendment on Congressional pay raises, Delaware rejected the Congressio
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable seizures. In addition, it sets requirements for issuing warrants: warrants must be issued by a judge or magistrate, justified by probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, must describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Fourth Amendment case law deals with three main issues: what government activities are "searches" and "seizures," what constitutes probable cause to conduct searches and seizures, how violations of Fourth Amendment rights should be addressed. Early court decisions limited the amendment's scope to physical intrusion of property or persons, but with Katz v. United States, the Supreme Court held that its protections extend to intrusions on the privacy of individuals as well as to physical locations. A warrant is needed for most search and seizure activities, but the Court has carved out a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, other situations.
The exclusionary rule is one way. Established in Weeks v. United States, this rule holds that evidence obtained as a result of a Fourth Amendment violation is inadmissible at criminal trials. Evidence discovered as a result of an illegal search may be inadmissible as "fruit of the poisonous tree", unless it would have been discovered by legal means; the Fourth Amendment was adopted in response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, a type of general search warrant issued by the British government, a major source of tension in pre-Revolutionary America. The Fourth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress submitted the amendment to the states on September 28, 1789. By December 15, 1791, the necessary three-fourths of the states had ratified it. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced that it was part of the Constitution.
Because the Bill of Rights did not apply to state or local governments, federal criminal investigations were less common in the first century of the nation's history, there is little significant case law for the Fourth Amendment before the 20th century. The amendment was held to apply to state and local governments in Mapp v. Ohio via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, describing the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized. Like many other areas of American law, the Fourth Amendment finds its roots in English legal doctrine. In Semayne's case, Sir Edward Coke famously stated: "The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose." Semayne's Case acknowledged that the King did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects' dwellings, but recognized that government agents were permitted to conduct searches and seizures under certain conditions when their purpose was lawful and a warrant had been obtained.
The 1760s saw a growth in the intensity of litigation against state officers, using general warrants, conducted raids in search of materials relating to John Wilkes's publications attacking both government policies and the King himself. The most famous of these cases involved John Entick, whose home was forcibly entered by the King's Messenger Nathan Carrington, along with others, pursuant to a warrant issued by George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax authorizing them "to make strict and diligent search for... the author, or one concerned in the writing of several weekly seditious papers entitled,'The Monitor or British Freeholder, No 257, 357, 358, 360, 373, 376, 378, 380,'" and seized printed charts and other materials. Entick filed suit in Entick v Carrington, argued before the Court of King's Bench in 1765. Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden ruled that both the search and the seizure were unlawful, as the warrant authorized the seizure of all of Entick's papers—not just the criminal ones—and as the warrant lacked probable cause to justify the search.
By holding that "ur law holds the property of every man so sacred, that no man can set his foot upon his neighbour's close without his leave", Entick established the English precedent that the executive is limited in intruding on private property by common law. Homes in Colonial America, on the other hand, did not enjoy the same sanctity as their British counterparts, because legislation had been explicitly written so as to enable enforcement of British revenue-gathering policies on customs. During what scholar William Cuddihy called the "colonial epidemic of general searches", the authorities possessed unlimited power to search for anything at any time, with little oversight. In 1756, the colony of Massachusetts barred the use of general warrants; this represented the first law in American history curtailing the use of seizure power. Its creation stemmed from the great public outcry over the Excise Act of 1754, which gave tax collectors unlimited powers to interrogate colonists concerning their use of goods subject to customs.
The act permitted the use of a general warrant known as a writ of assistance, allowing tax collectors to search the hom
Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. It was ratified in 1791 as part of the United States Bill of Rights; the Supreme Court has applied most of the protections of this amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment grants criminal defendants the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury consisting of jurors from the state and district in which the crime was alleged to have been committed. Under the impartial jury requirement, jurors must be unbiased, the jury must consist of a representative cross-section of the community; the right to a jury only applies to offenses in which the penalty is imprisonment for longer than six months. In Barker v. Wingo, the Supreme Court articulated a balancing test to determine whether a defendant's right to a speedy trial had been violated, held that any delay of longer than a year would be "presumptively" prejudicial; the Supreme Court has held that the requirement of a public trial is not absolute, that both the government and the defendant can in some cases request a closed trial.
The Sixth Amendment requires that criminal defendants be given notice of the nature and cause of accusations against them. The amendment's Confrontation Clause gives criminal defendants the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, while the Compulsory Process Clause gives criminal defendants the right to call their own witnesses and, in some cases, compel witnesses to testify; the Assistance of Counsel Clause grants criminal defendants. In Gideon v. Wainwright and subsequent cases, the Supreme Court held that a public defender must be provided to criminal defendants unable to afford an attorney in all trials where the defendant faces the possibility of imprisonment. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been ascertained by law, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. Criminal defendants have the right to a speedy trial.
In Barker v. Wingo, 407 U. S. 514, the Supreme Court laid down a four-part case-by-case balancing test for determining whether the defendant's speedy trial right has been violated. The four factors are: Length of delay. A delay of a year or more from the date on which the speedy trial right "attaches" was termed "presumptively prejudicial," but the Court has never explicitly ruled that any absolute time limit applies. Reason for the delay; the prosecution may not excessively delay the trial for its own advantage, but a trial may be delayed to secure the presence of an absent witness or other practical considerations. Time and manner in which the defendant has asserted his right. If a defendant agrees to the delay when it works to his own benefit, he cannot claim that he has been unduly delayed. Degree of prejudice to the defendant which the delay has caused. In Strunk v. United States, 412 U. S. 434, the Supreme Court ruled that if the reviewing court finds that a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated the indictment must be dismissed and/or the conviction overturned.
The Court held that, since the delayed trial is the state action which violates the defendant's rights, no other remedy would be appropriate. Thus, a reversal or dismissal of a criminal case on speedy trial grounds means that no further prosecution for the alleged offense can take place. In Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U. S. 333, the Supreme Court ruled. In cases where excess publicity would serve to undermine the defendant's right to due process, limitations can be put on public access to the proceedings. According to Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 478 U. S. 1, trials can be closed at the behest of the government if there is "an overriding interest based on findings that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest." The accused may request a closure of the trial. The right to a jury has always depended on the nature of the offense with which the defendant is charged. Petty offenses—those punishable by imprisonment for no more than six months—are not covered by the jury requirement.
Where multiple petty offenses are concerned, the total time of imprisonment exceeding six months, the right to a jury trial does not exist. In the United States, except for serious offenses, minors are tried in a juvenile court, which lessens the sentence allowed, but forfeits the right to a jury; the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial indicated a right to "a trial by jury as understood and applied at common law, includes all the essential elements as they were recognized in this country and England when the Constitution was adopted." Therefore, it was held that juries had to be composed of twelve persons and that verdicts had to be unanimous, as was customary in England. When, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court extended the right to a trial by jury to defendants in state courts, it re-examined
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of the millions of former black slaves. By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black male voters was important for the party's future. On February 26, 1869, after rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude. After surviving a difficult ratification fight, the amendment was certified as duly ratified and part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870.
United States Supreme Court decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, southern states adopted new state constitutions and enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration; this resulted in most black voters and many poor white ones being disenfranchised by poll taxes and discriminatory literacy tests, among other barriers to voting, from which white male voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of white primaries and violent intimidation by white groups suppressed black participation. In the twentieth century, the Court began to interpret the amendment more broadly, striking down grandfather clauses in Guinn v. United States and dismantling the white primary system in the "Texas primary cases". Along with measures such as the Twenty-fourth Amendment, which forbade poll taxes in federal elections, Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, which forbade poll taxes in state elections, these decisions increased black participation in the American political system.
To enforce the amendment, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of elections in discriminatory jurisdictions, banned literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices, created legal remedies for people affected by voting discrimination. The amendment created a split within the women's suffrage movement over the amendment not prohibiting denying the women the right to vote on account of sex. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2; the Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern states.
Because the full population of freed slaves would be now counted rather than the three-fifths mandated by the previous Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states would increase their power in the population-based House of Representatives. Republicans hoped to offset this advantage by attracting and protecting votes of the newly enfranchised black population. In 1865, Congress passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude; the bill guaranteed equal benefits and access to the law, a direct assault on the Black Codes passed by many post-war Southern states. The Black Codes attempted to return ex-slaves to something like their former condition by, among other things, restricting their movement, forcing them to enter into year-long labor contracts, prohibiting them from owning firearms, by preventing them from suing or testifying in court. Although urged by moderates in Congress to sign the bill, President Johnson vetoed it on March 27, 1866.
In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, that it discriminated in favor of African Americans and against whites. Three weeks Johnson's veto was overridden and the measure became law; this was the first time in American history that Congress was able to muster the votes necessary to override a presidential veto. Despite this victory some Republicans who had supported the goals of the Civil Rights Act began to doubt that Congress possessed the constitutional power to turn those goals into laws; the experience encouraged both radical and moderate Republicans to seek Constitutional guarantees for black rights, rather than relying on temporary political majorities. On June 18, 1866, Congress adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship and equal protection under the laws regardless of race, sent it to the states for ratification. After a bitter struggle that included attempted rescissions of ratification by two states, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 28, 1868.
Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment punished, by reduced representation in the House of Representatives, any state that disenfranchised any male citizens over 21 years of age. By failing to adopt a harsher penalty, this signaled to the states that they still posse