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If U.S. Citizenship didn’t exist until 1868, to whom does the Bill of Rights apply?

Apr 09, 12 If U.S. Citizenship didn’t exist until 1868, to whom does the Bill of Rights apply?

Invitations to the After Party

This is a very interesting topic I have come across and been researching. It’s also very in depth, so I think it will be discussed in several segments. Firstly a little history on the subject. When the Bill of Rights was ratified into the first ten amendments to the U.S. constitution there was only one type of person it could apply to, the people living in Federal territories, like D.C. or later acquisitions like Puerto Rico . This conclusion brought me to wonder why we ALL became US citizens under the 14th Amendment, if the amendment was intended to protect freed slaves under the premise that they weren’t considered “people of the several states”. So let’s jump ahead to the creation of the US citizen. I and almost everyone I know, was taught the civil war was of the sole intent of abolishing slavery. Further study suggests it was a much more complicated and politically charged situation. Here I would like to exhibit a letter from “honest” Abe Lincoln to Horace Greeley, editor of The New York Tribune, in response to editorials criticizing the administration.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, August 22, 1862.

Hon. Horace Greeley:
Dear Sir.

I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.

A. Lincoln.

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.

Lincoln’s intent was purely driven by preserving the union. History shows that slavery wasn’t even mentioned by Lincoln until at least a year into the war’s duration. Unfortunately it seemed to be a feature of the secessionist states that was exploited to gain advantage in the war. Everything he and the Union Armies did seemed to revolve around forcibly preserving the union. I will elaborate on this in an upcoming installment, to be continued………


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