Good law is an enormous blessing to society, but bad law is an evil that can continue to inflict and multiply folly, injustice, and tyranny on a people for generations. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, effective July 9, 1868, using villainous manipulations of parliamentary process, duress against States, and other egregious violations of Article 5 of the Constitution governing amendments to the Constitution. While not every line, phrase, or intent of the Amendment is evil or useless, the despotic and unlawful methods of its passage and the heavy influence of vengeance, greed, crookedness, and conniving for partisan political power should be enough to demand its invalidation. It is extremely important that our legislators and our people honor the Constitution, but as the reader will learn, many of the motives and the dishonest and unlawful methods surrounding “ratification” of the Fourteenth Amendment were disgraceful and completely contradictory to the ideals of just and limited government envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights embodied in the first ten amendments, and the Declaration of Independence. It should not be surprising that the Fourteenth Amendment has been a primary tool for Federal tyranny against the States and the people.
One destructive legacy of the Fourteenth Amendment has been “birthright citizenship,” currently interpreted as giving automatic citizenship to more than 300,000 children of illegal immigrant parents every year. We may be the last country in the world that tolerates such abuse of our immigration system, social-welfare programs, and taxpayers.
However, the worst thing about the Fourteenth Amendment is that it essentially turned the U.S. Constitution upside-down. Whereas the first Ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights limit the powers of Congress and the Federal government and defend the Rights of the States and the people against potential Federal tyranny, the Fourteenth Amendment effectively expanded Federal Power over the States and the people, making the Federal Government the dangerous arbitrator of its own power and that of the States and the people. At least four of nine Supreme Court Justices and many Federal District Judges see the Fourteenth Amendment as their authority to overturn state legislatures and public referendums protecting the institution of marriage. This would yield bitter fruit—the further destruction of the family as a mainstay and stabilizer of American society.
Following the great tragedy of the “Civil War” and the assassination of President Lincoln in April of 1865, national leadership was largely in the hands of a Congress dominated by the Radical Republicans. They undermined the new President, Andrew Johnson, at every opportunity, and had little regard for the Supreme Court. They considered the Constitution to be an inconvenience and the Supreme Court to be an annoyance to the will of the people accomplished by Congress. States Rights, having been defeated by the coercion of bayonets, were no longer an effective check on Federal power.
The Radical Republican hard core in Congress numbered only about thirty of some 230 Northern Senators and Representatives, but their influence was very powerful, and they had strong and widespread support in the Northern press. Five men exercised dominant leadership: Thaddeus Stevens, Representative from Pennsylvania; Benjamin Butler, Representative from Massachusetts; Charles Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts; Benjamin Wade, Senator from Ohio; and Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.
President Johnson planned to follow Lincoln’s relatively benign plan for establishing loyal civil governments in the South and restoring them to the national family. Pursuant to this on May 29, 1865, he declared an amnesty for most Confederate veterans. By the middle of July, many Southern state governments under the control of Union loyalists were functioning. But the Radical Republicans were bent on exacting humiliating vengeance on Southern “rebels,” exploiting Southern wealth and resources for themselves, and remaking the South into a Radical Republican political bastion using black voters. One of the greatest misfortunes of American history was that political and civil rights for blacks were combined with the vengeful and exploitive treatment of white Southerners by the Radical Republicans. Later, in 1867, they even passed a Reconstruction Act including measures to disenfranchise Confederate veterans and sympathizers.
In December 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. Included in the three-quarters of the states necessary for ratification were seven Southern States whose governments had been appointed and reconstituted by President Johnson. This, however, did not guarantee many civil rights for the former slaves, and as the Southern legislatures began to consist more of elected Democrats, they trended back to more traditional Southern caution on blacks. The Radical Republicans believed more amendments were needed to assure black civil rights and to advance their agenda for permanent political dominance of the nation.
Johnson was uncomfortable with coercing the States into enfranchising former slaves, but the Radical Republicans, most of whom had been radical abolitionists, were insistent. As it turned out, the Radical Republicans were far less interested in black civil rights than black votes to perpetuate themselves in office. They envisioned massive black political support in “Reconstructed” Southern States as a guarantee of continued Radical Republican political dominance over national politics and would go to extraordinary lengths to secure that dominance and their agenda. Unfortunately, their partisan zeal would impose such tyranny on the South that it would poison race relations and regional trust for generations.
To be continued.