Civil rights are the basic privileges and freedoms entitled to a citizen of the United States. Civil rights are found in the laws governing a country. They seek to uphold the rights of citizens. In the US, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution, and succeeding acts of congress pledge these rights.
The Fourteenth Amendment explains the privileges of being a citizen of the United States and protects the specific rights of individuals. Congress passed it on 13 June 1866, and on 9 July 1868, it was adopted by the states. The Fourteenth Amendment contains three important clauses, primarily were meant to protect the basic rights of the former slaves. Congress amended to end the growing oppression of the African-Americans who were slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment has seen a high number of Supreme Court cases seeking interpretation than any other part of the constitution. This can explain how people are sensitive about the rights accorded to them as citizens of the United States.
The importance of the Fourteenth Amendment is that it established the constitutional framework for civil rights. The Fourteenth Amendment clauses are still viable in the constitution. The first clause is the Citizenship Clause. It awards citizenship to people born in the United States. It’s mainly targeted the African Americans who at the time were in the United States as slaves. Before the amendment, African Americans could not attain US citizenship. This included even those who had become free after escaping. It ensured that all debts that were owed by the slaves were declared invalid. It awarded single citizenship to the people instead of having different citizenship according to the majority in a particular state. Once a person attains American Citizenship, it cannot be taken away unless the individual gives it up voluntarily. This protects American citizenship exclusively.
The Due Process clause is the second clause. It safeguards the first amendment of the individual’s rights and defends those from being withheld without a just process. Due process means a fair trial by a jury for all individuals accused of any wrongdoing. It included several rights still entitled to people accused of breaking the law until proven guilty. The Fourteenth Amendment enforced on the States that they could not limit the rights of the people.
The Equal Protection Clause states that citizens should not be discriminated against at all costs. It warrants that the federal government imposes this decree on the States. It stretched out the right of the State governments. This clause prohibited states from rebuking life, property, and liberty without due process. It ensured that states offered equal protection under the law. For example, the people in the South to terminate discrimination applied the third clause.
The Fourteenth Amendment denoted a significant change in the manner in which the constitution was applied in the United States. Before the implementation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the proposition of rights that protected the people was only enforceable against the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment ensures that states respect these rights.
The Fourteenth Amendment ensured that the law protected all citizens regardless of class, color, race, and religion. It has been used in various courts around the US to grant justice to citizens who felt their rights had been breached. The amendments made indicate the struggle by all Americans for their civil rights.