Amendments Of The 14th Amendment

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During the period after the Civil War, in the Reconstruction era, the United States adopted three amendments. These three amendments are the 13th, 14th, and 15th. In 1865, the ratification of the 13th amendment abolished slavery (Berlin). The 14th amendment protects “privileges and immunities" from abridgement, assures "due process of law" prior to deprivations of life, liberty, or property, and prohibits denials of "equal protection of the laws” (Steiker). The 15th amendment granted African American men the right to vote. All three of these amendments, known as the Civil Rights amendments, gave rights and ensured equality to recently emancipated slaves. The law granted rights to African Americans and protected them from “explicitly race-based capital codes” (Steiker). African Americans, although had more rights at this point, were still treated with extreme racial hostility, especially in the Southern states. The law was complicit, as it still allowed for discriminatory behavior. In “The American Death Penalty and the (In)Visibility of Race,” Carol Steiker writes, “Race continued to influence the application of facially neutral capital statutes through prosecutorial discretion, all-white sentencing juries, and the practice of extrajudicial execution by lynch mobs.” What this means is that laws were being created in ways that African Americans would still not receive equal treatment. In certain circumstances law enforcement officers even handed over blacks to lynch mobs.

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