If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:48
AP.GOPO:
PRD‑1.A (LO)
,
PRD‑1.A.1 (EK)

Video transcript

many parts of the United States Constitution deal with rights of an individual and many amendments talk about protecting or expanding the rights of an individual but the Fourteenth Amendment is perhaps one of the most important amendments in this discussion of protecting civil rights and in particular section one is the part that is most cited so let's just read this together all persons born or naturalized 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 so let's just focus in on parts of it so one big takeaway about the Fourteenth Amendment this is the federal government saying hey these are things that the state cannot do so for example when it says nor shall any state deprive any person of life liberty or property without due process of law this is a restatement of the Fifth Amendment that hey you know people can't just stick in jail or take away your property without you going through some type of a process a legal process well in the Fifth Amendment this was really talking about the federal government not being able to just take your property or your Liberty away from you without the process of law but here it's saying nor shall any state and this Clause right over here this is known as the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment then right after that it says nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws the equal protection of the laws I'm going to underline that and this you might guess is called the Equal Protection Clause now the context in which the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified it happens in 1868 shortly after the end of the Civil War you of course have the Thirteenth Amendment that among other things abolish slavery but then you have these things in the South called Black Codes which continue to repress the rights of African Americans and that's why Congress felt the need for the Fourteenth Amendment to be passed now one of the most notable cases in which the 14th amendment was brought up happens in 1896 Plessy versus Ferguson and we have a whole video about this and this is a case in which it was argued that it was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment for African Americans to have to travel in a separate train car from white Americans and the Supreme Court infamously said that hey as long as it is equal it is okay for it to be separate and that would not violate the Fourteenth Amendment and so this idea of separate but equal comes about now that was significantly challenged as we go into 1954 where you have Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka Kansas Board of Education and here the argument would was that inherently separate could not be equal and once again the Fourteenth Amendment was invoked and this time the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that yes separate can't be equal and that the schools needed to be desegregated so even though it wasn't an official overruling of Plessy versus Ferguson it was a functional overruling of this doctrine of separate but equal and as we go into the 1960s civil rights movement led by folks like Martin Luther King was a 14th amendment that was cited often another video we're going to look at Martin Luther King's letter from a Birmingham jail in which he articulates the ideas of the civil rights movement it's a quite moving letter but once again it's evoking these ideas of the 14th amendment and it goes on to movements as disparate as the women's rights movement led by organizations like the National Organization for Women citing equal protection of the laws in situations of sexual discrimination in the workplace you have pro-life groups citing the 14th amendment arguing that an unborn fetuses right to life is protected by the 14th amendment you have rulings around whether quotas in higher education are legal or not once again citing ideas of equal protection of the laws so as you go forth in your study of United States government the 14th amendment especially section 1 is going to keep showing up
AP® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which has not reviewed this resource.