The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment
On April 30, 1866, the Joint Committee of Fifteen presented a set of resolutions that after being revised became the Fourteenth Amendment. This Amendment was created in order to prevent the possible demise by repeal or adverse judicial review, since the constitutionality of the previous legislation had been vetoed.
The proposed Fourteenth Amendment was broken down into four sections. The first section granted citizenship for each individual no matter what state he or she live in. This section also "enjoined the several states from abridging or violating the rights of citizens to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the laws" (62). The second section expressed the concern with the representation in Congress. It was proposed to reduce the representation of each state in Congress by allowing only the ratio of males born in the state and the total number of males in the United States.
The third section excludes "all persons who, after serving in the federal government under oath, had served in the rebellion or supported it in any manner" from federal offices or positions (62). Finally, the last section called back the Confederate debts and all claims involving the money used for slaves.
The reactions of the North and South were the same, but for different reasons. Most of the Southerners were worried that the Amendment did not guarantee suffrage for blacks; therefore, they did not want the Amendment. In the Northern states, blacks were not allowed even to vote; therefore, they felt the Fourteenth Amendment went too far.
Tennessee was one of the first states to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. To show appreciation, Tennessee was rewarded with its senators and representatives filling seats on Congress. However, shortly after the Congress became deeply concerned because riots broke out in Memphis...