The Historical Context of the Fourteenth Amendment

17 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2009

See all articles by Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman

Gratz College; Albany Law School

Date Written: 2004


This article explores Congress’ intentions when ratifying the 14th Amendment, specifically in the context of the Bill of Rights through race relations. To understand the country’s views on race leading up to the 14th, one must first consider the development of race laws before the Civil War from both the northern and southern viewpoints. This article provides examples of Negrophobia in the north and the efforts of many leaders to change discriminatory laws, and protect free blacks while also honoring the Constitution which protected slavery. Furthermore, the article considers the 14th as a reaction to the violent and hateful “black codes” which followed the 13th Amendment, to protect the position of the freedmen, their civil rights, and the civil rights of those who would defend them.

Keywords: race relations, Negrophobia

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, The Historical Context of the Fourteenth Amendment (2004). Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

Gratz College ( email )

7605 Old York Road
Melrose Park, PA 19027
United States

Albany Law School

United States

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