The 14th Amendment was ratified on this date in history, July 28, ensuring equality for all Americans.

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NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! Read this article. On this date, July 28, 1868, Secretary of State William Seward certified the Fourteenth Amendment as a part of the Constitution, making it one of the most significant protections of civil liberties in American history.

On June 13, Congress approved it, and on July 9, 1868, the necessary 28 of the then-37 states ratified it.

The important “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which codified citizenship and due process for former slaves, is still remembered, praised, spoken about, and contested today.

Section 1 of the Amendment declares that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they live.”

Rep. John A. Bingham, R-Ohio, is shown between 1860 and 1875. A politician and lawyer, he was assistant Judge Advocate General in the trial of the Abraham Lincoln assassination, plus House manager (prosecutor) in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. (Artist is unknown.)

depicts Ohio Republican Rep. John A. Bingham between 1860 and 1875. He was a politician and attorney who served as the House Manager (prosecutor) in the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial as well as the assistant Judge Advocate General in the trial of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. (No artist is listed.) (Images from the past/Heritage Art via Getty Images)

“No state shall make or enforce any law that shall infringe upon or deny to any person within its authority the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any state deny to any person within its jurisdiction the enjoyment of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

According to the Library of Congress, Congressman John Bingham, R-Ohio, who is regarded as the amendment’s primary author, is given credit for writing the passage.
The United States hurriedly codified the liberties won at the horrifying expense of bloodshed during the war.

The United States hastened to codify the liberties won at the horrifying cost of human devastation during the Civil War, and the Fourteenth Amendment was the second of three Reconstruction Era amendments to be adopted in quick succession.

The 13th Amendment made slavery illegal. Although it was exclusively for men at the time, the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed everyone the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or prior state of servitude.”

A Union charge at the Battle of Vicksburg, 1863. The terrible American Civil War ended slavery in the U.S. and inspired a flurry of efforts to encode in the Constitution values espoused in the American Revolution.

a Union assault during the 1863 Battle of Vicksburg. The dreadful American Civil War put an end to slavery in the country and sparked a rush of initiatives to incorporate the principles of the American Revolution into the Constitution. Getty Images/DeAgostini

With the ratification of the Constitution, the American Revolution’s founding principles—that “all men are created equal”—had become more explicitly codified.

For many years, most notably during World War II, the country would continue to battle for civil liberties at home while also working to end slavery abroad.

According to the National World War II Museum, Nazi Germany used 7.6 million slaves in August 1944 alone before being defeated by the United States and its allies in 1945.

During its World War II conquests of much of the continent, Imperial Japan enlisted a massive force of tens of millions of slave workers from around Asia.

Historians estimate that 10 million Chinese and maybe an equal number of Indonesians were among its victims, among many others.

Just before the invasion of Europe, General Dwight Eisenhower delivers the directive, “Full Victory – Nothing Else,” to paratroopers in England. Slave labor was a common practice in both Europe and Asia until the United States and its Allies won World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps)

In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives declared that Japan had subjected 200,000 women to sex slavery while the country was at war.

The equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment still serves as a key constitutional debate’s fuel in the United States today on important subjects like abortion and gun rights.

According to the National Constitution Center, the 14th Amendment “wrote the Declaration of Independence’s promise of freedom and equality into the Constitution.”
“In many ways, the modern Supreme Court’s history is basically a history of contemporary conflicts over the meaning of the 14th Amendment.”
Fox News Digital’s Kerry J. Byrne is a lifestyle correspondent.

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