The 14th Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1868, and the Constitution has not been the same since. This amendment has had more impact on the Constitution than any other amendment ever added to the document, proving to be the main vehicle for the major constitutional revolutions since it was added to the text. It has been controversial in meaning partly because the text of the amendment seems obscure. In this seminar, we will study the text closely in order to see that the text is actually a model of clarity. Almost as soon as it was added to the Constitution it was misinterpreted by the Supreme Court. We will look at a few of the early cases to see what the court did to it and examine why.
This seminar is cosponsored with the Jack Miller Center, with generous support from the Harvey L. Miller Founding Civics Initiative.