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If U.S. Citizenship didn’t exist until 1868: Part III

Apr 17, 12 If U.S. Citizenship didn’t exist until 1868: Part III

Invitations to the After Party

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.

That’s the text of the 14th amendment to the US constitution. Seems pretty innocent right? Well the devil is in the details. Lets dissect each section slightly.

Section 1. Creates and defines US citizens, thus placing those citizens under federal jurisdiction. Prior to it’s passage the three branches of federal government didn’t have the power to legislate over the people. This was because the federal entity wasn’t created for this purpose, merely to mediate and enforce legal contracts and to act as an international liaison in diplomacy. I have heard many arguments about the “citizenship clause” being necessary to the freed slaves as the Dred Scott V. Sandford  decision stated that persons of African descent had no legal standing in the several states. Now I understand and appreciate the nobility in wanting to protect the unprotected, but making everyone in every state a federal citizen was a pretty extreme solution. Why not just propose an amendment to include all persons of African descent as people of the several states? I can think of many less destructive alternatives besides expanding the federal governments reach over the people.

Section 2. Empowers the federal government to decide who is in “rebellion” and take away their representation accordingly, much like Lincoln did under martial law, just now they don’t need to declare martial law to violate equal suffrage rights. I see this as another unethical boundary to prevent further attempts at secession.

Section 3. Denies those the federal government determine to be in or have been in “insurrection or rebellion” their right to run for or serve in an office of the US government. I shouldn’t have to elaborate, this pretty much speaks for itself.

Section 4. States that no public debt held by the US, that’s authorized by law, shall be questioned. Prior to it’s passage the federal government could not authorize debt to be burdened by the people, so much for that. They also threw in the terms that the Union’s debt incurred fighting the south won’t be questioned, but any debt incurred by the Confederacy or in aid of it, will not be honored or recognized. When people ask “Where in the constitution does it state I must pay for the ridiculous debts the government incurs?” you can direct them to section 4 of the 14th amendment.

Section 5. Gives the congress authority to legislate the amendment into law.

This is the framework for the overbearing, all-knowing, all-seeing government we have today. As if that weren’t enough, there are tremendous amounts of controversy surrounding its alleged ratification. It’s also purported that section 2 was what reinstated the Confederate states’ representation, if that’s true how did those states ratify the 14th to begin with? Instead of  continuing to speculate and ask introverted questions I will provide some evidence of my claims herein.

For your consideration, congressional record from 1963 reviewing the nature of the 14th amendment.

1963 Congressional record H7161

I found out that Ohio and New Jersey ratified the 14th amendment (implemented 1868) in 2003. I found that rather perplexing and upon further research I found NJ had withdrawn their ratification in Feb. 1868 and the official state legislature records confirm the claims that said amendment was never legally ratified.  They provide their reasoning in the records which I will post below, very interesting read.

NJ State Dept. records on 14th amendment

Wikipedia’s article on the 14th is accurate. It doesn’t paint the whole picture but is a good resource.

Wikipedia: 14th amendment to the US constitution

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