- 14th Amendment
14th Amendment Part 1
I am endeavoring on a journey into the study of the US Constitution (USC), the Rights (both inalienable and conferred), Liberties, and the differences. There will be other aspects to this study and in-depth research, as my goad is to have it published. All too many people have no concept as to the meaning within the boundaries of the Constitution and the differences between inalienable and conferred rights. I also ask that you bear with me as I may jump around , either within the text or the subject matter as a whole. But I will do everything I possible can to make sense of it all by tying it all together. I cannot explain why I have decided to start with this particular amendment to the Constitution, but I did find it fascinating. I probably should have started from the beginning, but I got to be me!
I have always been interested in the controversy surrounding the 14th Amendment and the many arguments dredged up by lawyers wearing $2500 suits. Claiming people they represent are protected under this amendment. Odd, you may think I am – as many may believe the Constitution, as a whole and all her articles and amendments, apply to all people of the United States. Well, that is not entirely true.
The 13th Amendment was ratified December, 1865 which freed the slaves from bondage, but did not confer upon them the right to any citizenship. Earlier that year (March, 1865) the Freedmen’s Bureau Act was also ratified as a means to create a Military rule over the southern states due to the rebellion and insurrection by their people. In essence a plan was created to confer a newly created class of citizenship upon the previously known slaves and referred to them as “citizens of the United States,” [refer to the 14th Amendment] as opposed to the original class of citizenship enjoyed by the State Citizens, which the Founding Father’s referred to as “Citizens of the United States.” [refer to the body of the US Constitution, Article I, Section 2, paragraph 2; USC, Art. II, Section 1, paragraph 5; USC, Art. IV, Section 2, paragraph 1, etc.] The 14th Amendment also conferred citizenship upon those who were born within the jurisdiction of the United States but was not actually a state, but rather a territory. Also, consider the Chinese who were used in the building of the railroads, they too did not have any citizenship…this amendment gave them that. Keep in mind, what ever Congress give, Congress can take away.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was the next step conferring rights (privileges actually) upon the previously know slaves. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 time and again had mentioned the rights given and to be enjoyed by the previously known slaves “…as is enjoyed by white citizens…” Afterward, the Enforcement Act of 1870 was ratified as a means of enforcing the civil rights which were conferred upon the newly freed men. Because these acts were not granting any rights to the original class of Citizen, as they were already in possession of their “inalienable Rights.” Inalienable Rights, as noted in the Declaration of Independence, are God-given and no one can take them away nor can you just give them away. The conferred Rights are rights that are actually a privilege because they are given by men via a piece of paper and what is written and given on paper can also be taken away.
Congress has a list of functions that the Congress are obligated to perform [refer to USC, Article I, Section 8], which consists of only 18 obligations. Giving citizenship was not among them. So a plan was devised to occupy the southern states and treat them as a conquered people, create laws in the interim, and then create and ratify the necessary amending Articles to the US Constitution – thereby, making the previous laws the law of the land. As each state is accepted into the union, they must accept the USC as the law of the land and must support and defend it.
I have read the three treatise by Dave Champion: Constitutions, Citizenship, and 14th Amendment Clarified. He has done far more study on the subject than I, his arguments (from the constitution, various acts, and US Supreme Court cases are very compelling. I would highly suggest that you read the three separate treatise by Mr. Champion, they will give you quite a bit of insight. I have read them, the Freedmen’s Bureau Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Enforcement Act of 1870. I have done that so I may have some understanding what I am looking for in the Dredd Scott cases (1856) which was decided by the US Supreme Court and is roughly 110 pages.
On a personal note, I have recently been summoned for jury duty. This subject matter has bearing upon this, in that, the question asked by the court was “Are you a citizen of the United States?” Anytime prior to 5, or so, years ago I would have said YES with pride. However, that statement has a very specific legal meaning, stemming from the 14th Amendment. From all my studies I have, in fact, determined that I was not, but rather I am, or classified as, a “Citizen of the United States,” a “Citizen of the several States,” a “Citizen of the state of Union,” or a “Citizen of Nebraska.” I pretty much told them to take their pick and made reference to the USC. You may think me nuts, and that is alright – no two people ever agree on everything. But many of these arguments were gleaned from the Dredd Scott case (that is why I will read the case because I want to verify and see with my own eyes.)
Let me know what you think, I am interested.
See also Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Another resource I have is a book by West Publishing entitled “The American Constitution” 3rd Ed.