Reconstruction and the 14th Amendment

Here’s Professor Michael Ross of the University of Maryland on Reconstruction up to the 14th Amendment.

The video’s description tells us, “Michael Ross spoke about Reconstruction and the origins of the 14th amendment. His course is titled U.S. Constitutional and Legal History Since 1860. Andrew Johnson was a Tennessee Democrat who remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. Lincoln added Johnson as vice president on his ticket in 1864 to bolster his re-election chances, and Johnson ascended to the presidency following Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865. Some Republicans in Congress found Johnson’s Reconstruction policies to be too lenient, and as a response they put forth the 14th amendment, which included provisions to ensure citizenship for former slaves, as well as equal protection and due process of law.”

This is a really good lecture.



  1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    I can’t find where Lincoln wrote or said, “The Old South is going to be remade and we are going to introduce there new ideas and new attitudes.” Nothing on Internet or in Google Books.

    1. I’d say that’s either a paraphrase or a quote from someone who had a conversation with Lincoln.

  2. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    On rereading Lincoln’s April 11 speech, I find that indeed he did say that his hope was that “very intelligent” blacks and those who fought for the Union would be allowed to vote. I do not find anywhere in the speech where he mentions or even suggests that former Southern states would have to approve the 13th Amendment before being readmitted to the Union.

    1. Look at the Hampton Roads Conference.

      1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

        Yes, I know he said it at the Hampton Roads Conference but I’m pretty sure that Ross referenced it as being included in the April 11th speech. I will have to watch it again.

  3. Al,

    What is your take on the unconstitutionality of the 14th, this is all sort of new to me, I’m hearing people say it was never properly ratified or something along those lines. Of course that its spouted by people like Tom Woods is not very comforting. Do you know what this is all about?

    1. I’m aware of the claims and they’re without merit. The claims are pushed by people with a particular political agenda.

      Time and time again the Supreme Court and other Federal courts have cited the 14th Amendment as controlling law, and to date no court has sustained any claim that the amendment was not legally a part of the Constitution.

    2. Thanks for your response Al, could be worth a post if you feel like covering it. I’ve been reading up on it in these two places, they seem credible, but I am not a good authority on that haha:

      For the more radical attacks on it (ie the person who says hes done 1200 hours and has proof from congressional records…and that its their thesis?) its here:

      1. The third article has no credibility at all.

        The first two articles are fundamentally flawed. The first article is simply neoconfederate nonsense in claiming the Radicals were out to plunder the South. Both the first and second article misapprehend the Qualification Clause in claiming the invoking of the clause to deny seating the representatives from the former confederate states violated Article I and Article V. It did not. Here’s an example. Let’s say the two senators from Florida are convicted of a heinous felony and jailed. The Senate then expels them. Has Florida been deprived of representation in the Senate? No. The seats would be unfilled until new senators could be elected and take their seats, but they exist nonetheless. Likewise, the southern states could have elected senators who were acceptable to the rest of the Senate and those newly elected senators could have taken their seats.

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