Equal Protection Under the Law

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The 14th Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868 and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” and included former slaves which had recently been freed due to the Civil War. It also forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By the 14th Amendment directly mentioning the role of the states, it greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment. The first 10 Amendments contain the Bill of Rights and one might say that the Bill of Rights and the Equal Protection Clause go hand in hand. Equal protection in regards to race, national origin, free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to privacy are but a few areas covered by the 14th Amendment. Equal protection can be broken down into three basic areas of importance Federal Implications (the government), Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties; what follows is a brief overview of these three areas of importance with some historical background concerning Equal Protection Under the Law. Federal Implications The 14th Amendment was put into place to limit the actions of state and federal government. Throughout the history of the world many governments have been known to treat its citizens unjustly. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is in place to ensure that our government, whether it be state or federal, does not over step its bounds and mistreat any American citizen. The Equal Protection Clause is totally geared toward the actions of the government and not private citizens. It is designed to prevent discrimination by the government, however, it does not prevent any such discrimination by private citizens. In order to determine if the Equal Protection Clause

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