U.S History 101
13 February 2014
Does Zinn argue that the Fourteenth Amendment was an effective tool in protecting African Americans?
The Fourteenth Amendment was created to “protect” African Americans, but were they really protected? Disenfranchisement, the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and the Cruikshank decision of 1876 shows how the Fourteenth Amendment failed to protect African Americans. When the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, it made all people born in the United States citizens, giving them the right to vote once the Fifteenth Amendment was passed according to what the Fifteenth Amendment states. White supremacists illegally used methods to disenfranchise African Americans from voting. Some of those methods were taxing the polls, which in most cases Blacks could not pay the fee making, and making the people need to be able read in order for them to vote which in most cases Blacks could not either.
The Civil Rights Act was supposed to outlaw discrimination in public places. However this act was never enforced and later was declared unconstitutional in 1883 allowing again for the Blacks to be discriminated.
Finally, the Cruikshank Decision also played a big role in protecting African Americans. Cruikshank was released after committing a murder because the Fourteenth Amendment stated that prosecution was only for state action and not individual actions. This meant Blacks could be murdered and not be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment because of the result of the Cruikshank Decision.
The Fourteenth Amendment was created to protect African Americans but as we can see it did not do a good job of it because of how the whites were able to manipulate the Fourteenth Amendment. How did white Supremacists in the South circumvent in the Fifteenth Amendment? When Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment it allowed African Americans to finally vote. The whites did not...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document