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Before an amendment can be ratified it must first be proposed. The Constitution provides two methods of proposing an amendment: by two-thirds of the States or by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress. The method that was used for the 14th amendment was the Congressional method.
According to the Constitution, Article 4; “How to Amend the Constitution” it states: “No State without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.” It means that each state will have a certain amount of congressman based on their population. When Congress proposed the amendment, 23 Senators were unlawfully excluded from the U.S. Senate, in order to secure a two-thirds vote for the adoption of the proposed amendment. This alone is sufficient to invalidate the so-called 14th amendment because it was never properly proposed.
When the proposed amendment was sent to the states for ratification, there were 37 states in the Union. This means that ratification required the approval of 28 states. The proposed 14th amendment was sent to the states for ratification in June of 1866. By March of 1867, 20 states had ratified while 13 had rejected the proposed amendment. This means the amendment should not have been passed.
President Andrew Johnson
After learning of the proposed amendment’s failure, the U.S. Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of March 2, 1867. Congress required that each state draft a new constitution, which would have to be approved by Congress. However, the states were required to ratify the 14th amendment. President Andrew Johnson vetoed this Act because he believed it was completely against the Constitution our Founding Fathers layed out for us. This is what he had to say:
“I submit to Congress whether this measure is not in its whole character,
scope and object without precedent and without authority, in palpable
conflict with the plainest provisions of the Constitution, and utterly
destructive of those great principles of liberty and humanity for which
our ancestors on both sides of the Atlantic have shed so much blood
and explained so much treasure.” Andrew Johnson, on the Reconstruction Act
Congress disregarded J0hnson’s veto and went along with the 14th amendment as planned.
After the Reconstruction Act was passed, two states, Nebraska and Iowa, ratified the amendment, while three states, New Jersey, Ohio and Oregon reversed their ratifications. This led the final vote to be 19 for and 16 against. Two states, California and Tennessee, decided not to act.
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