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Civil Rights in the Shadow of SlaveryThe Constitution, Common Law, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866$
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George A. Rutherglen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199739707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739707.001.0001

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The High Tide of Reconstruction

The High Tide of Reconstruction

The Fourteenth Amendment and Later Legislation

Chapter:
(p.70) 4 The High Tide of Reconstruction
Source:
Civil Rights in the Shadow of Slavery
Author(s):

George Rutherglen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739707.003.0004

The 1866 Act led directly to adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and provided the template for section 1 of that amendment, with its famous clauses granting citizenship, protecting privileges and immunities, guaranteeing equal protection, and providing for due process. The Fourteenth Amendment also granted Congress the power to enforce these provisions by appropriate legislation and it immediately exercised that power to reenact the 1866 Act, removing doubts about its constitutionality and also extending most provisions beyond citizens to aliens. Further civil rights acts modeled on the 1866 Act followed, among them the statute now known as section 1983, generally authorizing claims for denials of federal rights under color of state law, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875, prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. The latter was soon struck down, but it anticipated major civil rights legislation in the twentieth century. In all of these respects, the 1866 Act showed itself to be an important source of civil rights law.

Keywords:   Fourteenth Amendment, Civil Rights Act of 1875, aliens, public accommodations, section 1983

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