Fourteenth Amendment

In earlier years, the practice of slavery was widely used especially in the South. White men were the slave owners, and were basically the masters of these men. For a long time, slaves weren’t recognized as full human beings, which was evidently shown in the past. An example would be the ⅗ compromise where they were only counted as ⅗ in total when apportioning representatives, as well as presidential electors and taxes. This all changed when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868. Although the Fourteenth Amendment did impact society as it addressed citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and caused a be despite one’s race, there were still inevitable racism and discrimination.

This primary source represented the huge impact and change the Fourteenth Amendment has brought upon society. The primacy source displays the document itself and states what the Amendment stands for. It states how all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States, which does not disclude the blacks/slaves who were born here. This is a huge step for them, especially on the slaves, for they are now being recognized as full human beings with rights under the law. They could now drop the “slave label” and hope for a better future through new rights such as education, which lead them to get better jobs.
Despite the creation of the Fourteenth Amendment, there still have been setbacks in racism and discrimination amongst the people. Although it was able to abolish slavery, it didn’t completely abolish the racist thoughts of many. An example would be the Plessy vs Ferguson case where white and black residents ride separately, but “equal”. Louisiana Police arrested Homer Adolph Plessy for taking his seat on a train car for “whites only” because he refused to move to a separate car reserved for blacks. This showed the failure of Reconstruction despite the Fourteenth Amendment, and how white people continued to treat them as lower beings.
In the long run, the Fourteenth Amendment paved the way for equal rights in the workplace despite one’s skin color. There is now a federal law that requires equality in the workplace by enforcing certain requirements and contracts for companies to abide by. This showed the legacy of the Fourteenth Amendment because it was the first document that freed the slaves and finally gave hope for social mobility.

The Fourteenth Amendment definitely had a huge impact to the society we have today. It may have not completely erased racist ideas immediately, but it definitely was the first step to equal rights amongst the people despite their race. Recently, even the LGBT community was able to obtain equal rights in marriage in 50 states. In earlier years, the LGBT community was restricted from marriage rights and not all 50 states made this legal. Now, they are able to enjoy the same rights as everyone else.


Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. N.p, 1868. Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.

Staff, NCC. "10 Huge Supreme Court Cases about the 14th Amendment." Constitution Daily. N.p., 08 July 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

"Federal Law That Requires Racial Equality in the Workplace." Federal Law That Requires Racial Equality in the Workplace | N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

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