What Is The 14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1868 and granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States—including formerly enslaved people—and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection of the laws.”

The amendment has been used in many landmark cases, including Brown v. Board of Education (racial discrimination), Roe v. Wade (abortion), and Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage).

Here is a simplified summary of the 14th Amendment:
- Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the state where 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 laws.
- Section 2: 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 inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age,* 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.
- Section 3: 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.
- Section 4: The validity of public debt incurred by authorized law 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.
- Section 5: The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

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