The Most Important Amendment

The constitution of the United States has twenty-seven amendments (though only twenty-five are active; the 21st simply repealed the 18th). While there is no official hierarchy among them, there are definitely some that hold greater importance. Ask people’s opinion, and you’ll get a lot of different answers, though a lot would say the First amendment (which protects the freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government). While this is extremely important, its value would not be nearly as great with the Fourteenth. It is the Fourteenth that is truly the most important.

According to Wikipedia, the Fourteenth amendment “defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues.” These are all important issues, but the critical one is the Equal Protection Clause:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This clause applies to all the amendments before it (and all of those to come after). The states can not deprive people of the equal protection of any law. This applies even to laws that were not passed by the federal government. All laws, regardless of origin, must be equal and fair and apply to everyone. Any right or privilege extended to one citizen must be granted to everyone.

This is critical. The Fourteenth Amendment is a tool that forces all governments to treat everyone equality, regardless of any feature of one person. Which gives us hope for equality for everyone.

-That is all.


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