National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1866-1885: We rebuild the Union and amend the Constitution

July 9, 1868
The idea of equality enters the Constitution

The 14th Amendment

Equality under the law.” It’s an idea Americans cherish. But it wasn’t part of our Constitution until today, when the last two states ratified the 14th Amendment.


The 14th makes everyone born in the United States a citizen, entitled to equal protection in every state.


“No State shall...deny to any person the equal protection of the laws.”


The words are powerful on paper. But the struggle to put them into practice has just begun.

Read about it in the New York times

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