This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments are in black normal font, and the text of the document are in this color and italicized.
Today, we’ll consider three amendments which were never legally ratified. Didn’t know that fact, did you? This post will necessarily be longer than my others because of the subject matter being covered.
Let’s take a look at what happened, but first, a disclaimer. This post is not a commentary on whether the content of these amendments is good or bad. It is simply an expose’ of the illegal shenanigans that got them included in our Constitution.
The entire justification for the North’s aggression against the South was that no state had the right to secede from the union. Under that doctrine, the Southern states were always a part of the union, even during the war.
Once the union forces won the war, however, they switched theories and, using the theory that the former Confederate states had, in fact, left the union, began systematically destroying those states and depriving their citizens of their Constitutional rights such as voting. They also required each state to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments as a condition of “readmission” to the union.
Like present-day liberals, the union politicians were not constrained by logic or a desire for consistency. They had no trouble saying out of one side of their mouths that no state could secede while saying out of the other side of their mouths that states that seceded had to jump through hoops in order to be readmitted.
The Southern states only ratified these amendments under duress and at a time when a large percentage of their citizens were barred from voting by these same union politicians, using as their legal justification one of the very amendments they were forcing the southern states to ratify. Somehow historians have ignored these facts and accepted these three amendments as legitimate parts of the Constitution.
SECTION 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
SECTION 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This is pretty straight-forward and requires no explanation.
SECTION 1. 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 laws.
This ill-thought-out provision allows anyone to enter our country, whether legally or illegally, and have a baby while here who will automatically become a citizen. In our present-day situation, this has become a major problem as illegal aliens take advantage of this provision and put our government in the position of either having to deport the parents of U.S. citizens or else overlook their illegal entry and allow them to stay here.
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.
These two sections were specifically designed to legitimize the persecution of the South after the war. It allowed them to bar a huge percentage of southern citizens from voting so they could bring about the results they wanted in elections in these states.
SECTION 4. 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 was another way of persecuting the South and taking huge amounts of wealth from those to whom it belonged since they had invested large sums in the bonds of the Confederate States of America and the individual southern states.
SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This amendment extended the right to vote to former slaves, while the preceding amendment took that right away from many, many other citizens.
Without turning this into a discussion of whether or not former slaves (and their descendants) should be citizens or have the right to vote, how do you feel about the deceitful, underhanded manner in which these amendments were appended to our Constitution?
Benjamin Franklin, exiting Constitutional Convention:
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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Well, since I now live in the south, I can say that there are still a lot of hurt feelings down here, even after all those years. And I’m not talking about just the African American population. The wealthy elite from old old money still hold on to those grudges. It’s weird.
Funny how politicians have always found a way to turn the “laws” in their favor when they feel it’s necessary. Just like people have always found clever ways to avoid paying taxes.
Good stuff, Dave.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
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Thank you, Patricia. I’m always amazed at how many politicians get away with talking out of both sides of their mouths without getting called on it.
Interesting to know. Thanks
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Thanks, Sharon. This is the sort of thing Chester Tucker exposed to us in eighth grade American history.