MIDTERM - Legal 397L 1 A The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S Constitution played a crucial role in the history of citizenship and

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Legal 397L 1. A. The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution played a crucial role in the history of citizenship and race. The Fourteenth Amendment states, “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 where they reside” (Karst pg 52). This open statement makes a clear decision that citizenship does not depend on race. Citizenship is something incredibly sacred, and can be taken for granted. According to Linda Bosniak, there are multiple understandings of citizenship; status, rights, participation and identity and belonging. With the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment, these ideals would be available to more people. Status is what grants a person legal citizenship, being recognized by the state as a citizen. When you are a citizen you have access and are entitled to specific rights, whether they are political, religious, or social. Participation is one’s entitlement or enjoyment with their citizenship, and identity or belonging is more subjective, and has to do with one’s own experience in regards to their citizenship. These four understandings are very prevalent in how one constitutes who has citizenship. By enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment, discrimination due to race was immediately forbidden, but unfortunately this was not the case. During the Reconstruction era a real change was seen toward equal citizenship. Many amendments were created that helped create a more equal status in citizenship. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, and then the Fourteenth Amendment was passed which thus established equal citizenship no matter what race. The passing of the Fourth Amendment granted African Americans legal status; therefore they were considered to be legal citizens of the state. African Americans were also granted the right
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to political participation, and civil rights, for example the ability to own personal property. Both legal status and political and civil rights are understandings of citizenship discussed by Linda Bosniak. Not only were the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments passed, but also a lot of other new legal changes were happening in this time period. The access to laws was incredibly freeing for the former slaves, but even the ability to be mobile was just as freeing. The ability to move around, and travel to whatever destination was desired was a huge change for African Americans. This mobility offered a huge range of possibilities and choices, whether it was the choice to move somewhere new, or just to travel north. These legal changes and new freedoms brought on by the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment was not exactly a clear step toward the equality that Reconstruction was supposed to bring. The inequalities rooted in slavery survived, and reconstruction was failing to bring about the equal citizenship that the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed. The cultured was geared toward racial violence from before the
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This note was uploaded on 11/17/2011 for the course LEGAL 450 taught by Professor Holmes,j during the Fall '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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MIDTERM - Legal 397L 1 A The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S Constitution played a crucial role in the history of citizenship and

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