Thursday, April 7, 2011

Amendments XIII, XIV, & XV

Temecula Constitution Study with Douglas V. Gibbs

Wednesday, April 7, 2011

Amendments XIII, XIV, and XV

Amendment XIII (1865)

Section 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XIV (1868)

Section 1

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; 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.

Section 2

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Amendment XV (1870)

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.


The Emancipation Proclamation, which was a political move and did not actually free the slaves, resulted in Maryland and Missouri freeing their slaves within two years. The Fugitive Slave Act was repealed during this time, and Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery. The nation was reunited, and slavery was a thing of the past. However, after the Thirteenth Amendment, Lincoln felt he needed to make sure the South did not reinstitute slavery in some other form, while bringing the Rebels back into the union.

The Fourteenth Amendment, whose ratification is still today questioned, because the southern states ratified it under duress, and with northerners in their government, was ratified in 1868. The provisions, according to some, change the Bill of Rights to apply to the States, and eliminates State Sovereignty. Originalists have challenged that interpretation, and indicate that the 14th Amendment does nothing of the sort.

In Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the subject of citizenship is addressed. Note that Natural Born Citizenship is not addressed in this clause. Also note that through the anchor baby argument hinges on this clause, the clause does not say that anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen. It more specifically says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. . .

Since illegal aliens are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, their children born in the U.S. are not automatically American citizens.

The equal protection clause, and due process clause, that winds down this section are not necessary. All citizens are already protected under Article IV.

Section 2 ensures that all citizens are counted, including former slaves, for the purpose of apportionment.

Section 3 handicaps the opportunities for rebels to hold office.

Section 4 ensures the war debts belong to the States that caused them.

Amendment XV ensures that all citizens can vote.

Contrary to popular opinion, these amendments were specifically written to correct the wrongs of slavery, and apply to the emancipated slaves, not to gender, lifestyle, or other non-race groups.


Special Thanks to: Faith Armory, 27498 Enterprise Cir. W #2, Temecula, CA 92562; 951-699-7500, - For providing us with a classroom to meet in.

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