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Civl Rights In USA

Updated on December 7, 2012

The concept of the 14th amendment

One of the most influential statements that were proclaimed in the eve of American independence was that the creator made all men equal, and that these human beings have got unalienable rights which are unique to each other. Among these basic rights are rights to life, happiness and freedom. The government which is instituted by people ought to ensure that all persons are granted these rights. The first fathers of America proclaimed that all persons were created equal and therefore, the government should endeavour to treat them equally.

The concept of the equality was however not clearly depicted in the American constitution until certain amendments to the same were made. The 13th amendment established in 1965 outlawed slavery and the preceding 14th amendment established three years later provided equal rights for all USA citizens. This amendment included the word equality in section 1, which outlaws the state from prohibiting individuals their unalienable rights.

The 14th amendment which was adopted in the US constitution guaranteed equality and the associated privileges to both African and American citizens. The amendment had resolved the pre-civil war conflict that was experienced between black and whites. It stipulates that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside." This translated that all people born in USA whether black or white had aright of citizenship. This is with disregard to race, ethnicity, gender or the alien age of the parents. This amendment further expounds on the rights and privileges of every citizen and mandated the state to these rights equally.

The fourteenth amendment was established in order to solve issues that were related to equality. These issues were not stipulated in the constitution. During this time, the black race in USA was not being considered as equal citizens. Additionally, American natives were neither regarded as citizens. This was due to the fact that these Native American were also considered as members of the Indian states. The 1866 civil rights law and the preceding 14th amendment in 1868 extended birthright citizenship to blacks and all those born within the US. In United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court ruling made it explicit that all children whether born from parents of foreign dissident could as well be regarded as America nationals. The only exceptions were on children of foreign diplomats and enemy nations.

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