The US Constitution: 14th Amendment

Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution - Rights Guaranteed Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection


Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 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.

History and Ratification

The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the Thirty-ninth Congress, on June 13, 1866. It was declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State dated July 28, 1868 to have been ratified by the legislatures of 28 of the 37 States. The dates of ratification were:
Connecticut, June 25, 1866
New Hampshire, July 6, 1866
Tennessee, July 19, 1866
New Jersey, September 11, 1866 (subsequently the legislature rescinded its ratification, and on March 24, 1868, readopted its resolution of rescission over the Governor's veto, and on Nov. 12, 1980, expressed support for the amendment);
Oregon, September 19, 1866 (and rescinded its ratification on October 15, 1868)
Vermont, October 30, 1866
Ohio, January 4, 1867 (and rescinded its ratification on January 15, 1868)
New York, January 10, 1867
Kansas, January 11, 1867
Illinois, January 15, 1867
West Virginia, January 16, 1867
Michigan, January 16, 1867
Minnesota, January 16, 1867
Maine, January 19, 1867
Nevada, January 22, 1867
Indiana, January 23, 1867
Missouri, January 25, 1867
Rhode Island, February 7, 1867
Wisconsin, February 7, 1867
Pennsylvania, February 12, 1867
Massachusetts, March 20, 1867
Nebraska, June 15, 1867
Iowa, March 16, 1868
Arkansas, April 6, 1868
Florida, June 9, 1868
North Carolina, July 4, 1868 (after having rejected it on December 14, 1866)
Louisiana, July 9, 1868 (after having rejected it on February 6, 1867)
South Carolina, July 9, 1868 (after having rejected it on December 20, 1866)

Ratification was completed on July 9, 1868.

The amendment was subsequently ratified by:
Alabama, July 13, 1868
Georgia, July 21, 1868 (after having rejected it on November 9, 1866)
Virginia, October 8, 1869 (after having rejected it on January 9, 1867)
Mississippi, January 17, 1870
Texas, February 18, 1870 (after having rejected it on October 27, 1866)
Delaware, February 12, 1901 (after having rejected it on February 8, 1867)
Maryland, April 4, 1959 (after having rejected it on March 23, 1867)
California, May 6, 1959
Kentucky, March 18, 1976 (after having rejected it on January 8, 1867)

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