14th Amendment

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14th Amendment

The constitutional amendment that officially made the former slaves citizens of the U.S. after the Civil War.

Another key provision prohibits states from denying any citizen "equal protection" of the law. It says that states cannot take someone's life, liberty, or property without "due process" of law. This protection was vitally important to freed slaves.

Initially, most Southern states refused to accept the 14th Amendment. Partly as a result, the U.S. Congress divided the South into military districts, and required the Southern states to adopt the 14th amendment in order to be readmitted as states.

The 14th is considered one of the most important amendments because it indirectly forces states to abide by many of the principles listed in the federal Bill of Rights.
 
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