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Ratified by the states in 1868 shortly after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted with multiple purposes in mind. First, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship and the promise of equality for Black Americans, many of whom were freed slaves. In addition, the Fourteenth Amendment served as the centerpiece of legal challenges to achieve equity in many areas, beginning with school segregation, based on its Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. This entry reviews its history and legal application in the 20th century and beyond.

Historical Background

Members of the Republican Party introduced the Fourteenth Amendment after the conclusion of the Civil War to ensure that the admission of Confederate states back into the Union would be accompanied by ...

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