Archive for January, 2011


The citizenship provisions of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution have been interpreted to the effect that children born on United States soil, with very few exceptions, are U.S. citizens. This basic kind of guarantee does not exist in most of Europe, Asia or the Middle East, although it is part of English common law and is common in the Americas. The amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868 as one of the so-called Reconstruction Amendments after the Civil War, which took place from 1861 to 1865. The amendment’s broad definition of citizenship overruled the decision in the case of Dred Scott vs Sandford (1857) which was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves, were not protected by the U.S. Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens.
Stay tuned for the next post….Why is the 14th Amendment being challenged now by some groups in the U.S.?