What it Says and was Supposed to Mean
The abuse evident in the history of the 14th Amendment is too long for any article. Justice in dealing with the corruption stemming from this single — seeming noble and straightforward — Amendment requires a book. Maybe this should be a book. For now, it is intended as a group of simple articles, starting here: What the 14th Amendment clearly says and obviously means.
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
No more slavery! Abe Lincoln emancipated (freed) every former slave in the USA. This section of Congress’s supporting proclamation assured with the full authority of a Constitutional Amendment and the ratification of our States. If you were legally born here, or naturalized as an American, you are a full-fledged citizen of the United States of America. Like every other citizen, as a full-fledged human child of our Republic, you are free with all the rights, privileges, securities, safety, and protection of all laws. What a glorious, wonder-filled, noble, and humanitarian thing to do!
It even assures that non-citizens as well as free citizens, can
never be taken as slaves. No person may be denied the full protection
of the law.
Section 1 makes corrupt and perverse decisions, such as the Dredd
Scott decision of the Supreme Court, utterly null, void, illegal, and
unenforceable. To be human is to be fully human. To be American is to
be free. To be a human being — a Person — in America, regardless of
your status in other parts of the world, is to be free in America
within the reach of all of our laws and rights.
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
(changed to include women by the 19th Amendment in 1920)
inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age,
(changed to 18 by Amendment 26 in 1972) 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.
This Section is a very unfortunate compromise, but masterfully
handled by the US Congress. It would be wrong to tell a State who it
must allow to vote in its State elections. The
separation of powers remained. Positive laws (those that demand
compliance rather than forbidding or punishing wrong-doing) rarely
accomplish the correct goal. A State would remain its own authority.
Yet a State that denied full citizenship rights to citizens
would also be denied rights as a State in proportion to its census.
In other words, if you don’t allow voters for the State elections,
you also give up representation at the national level.
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.
Quite simply, if you took an oath of office and violated your word
once, you would hardly be allowed to take a similar oath and then
trusted with it again. It would quite literally take a 2/3 Act of
Congress for your faithless betrayal to be excused.
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.
This section declares that a State, municipality, business,
individual or any other entity was responsible for its debt or
portion of debt owed for the service of reunifying our nation and
suppressing insurrection. It also declares that neither the national
government nor any State government owes anybody for trying to tear
us apart, or for losing money because of a debt for losing slave
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
This dreadful clause or its principle stands behind every abuse of
power in the history of mankind. It probably “seemed
appropriate” at the time of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments,
since the restored Congress would need specific authorities to deal
with the still smarting wounds of a long Civil War. It remains
true, nevertheless, that if mankind can seize power in government, it
To “have power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, these provisions” stands as a limitless
and variable assortment of abusive, cruel, or unreasonable powers, to
be interpreted only by the power of Congress itself in whatever form
it chooses. It is an open invitation to corruption. Words such
as “power,” “enforce,” “appropriate,”
and “provisions” leave open an irrational array of
potential meanings — especially when all those words are
completely unqualified and essentially undefined.
We can say that the intention of the 14th Amendment seems quite clear, but our Supreme Court has twisted and stretched, mangled and reformed it into a Carte Blanche’ of abusive license, and our bi-partisan Congress has used it as an opportunity to create, establish, and enforce, by questionable perversion, nearly every word. . . including some that were never uttered.