Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Historical Perspective of "To Kill a Mockingbird": 14th Amendment

8th Grade Human Rights Novel Study. Getting a historical perspective.

14th Amendment Info

Fourteenth Amendment, amendment (1868) to the Constitution of the United States that granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” In all, the amendment comprises five sections, four of which began in 1866 as separate proposals that stalled in legislative process and were amalgamated into a single amendment.

Citation Link "Fourteenth Amendment." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 17 Jul. 2010. Accessed 22 Mar. 2018.

14th Amendment Image

Citation Link Fourteenth Amendment. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 6 Feb. 2018. Accessed 22 Mar. 2018.

Youtube Video

US History in Context

The Fourteenth Amendment

The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment removed the slave condition, but did not clarify the civil or political status of the freedmen. Indeed, without some clarification, the former slaves could have been seen as wards of the federal government. The nation's political leaders struggled with what the political condition of the former slaves should be, and they did so against the background of debate about the nature of Reconstruction. As the parties argued in late 1865 and 1866, reports reached the North of violence and intimidation against former slaves. In addition, most of the newly reconstituted Southern legislatures passed "Black Codes," severely restricting the political and civil rights of the freedmen and reducing them to a status as close to slavery as possible. The Republicans at first tried national legislation, like the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, but its renewal was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson. Johnson, bent on rapid reconstituting of the Union, declared Reconstruction over in December 1865, when the last of the postwar loyalist governments was seated in the South, and vetoed the historic Civil Rights Bill of 1866. This veto galvanized the Republican Party. Moderates joined Radical Republicans to muster the constitutional majority to repass the bill over Johnson's veto, the first time in American history such an event had happened.

Citation Link - "Constitutional Amendments." Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Paul Finkelman, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.