Why America Keeps Battling to Live Up to the 14th Amendment

From Its Post-Civil War Origins to Today's Immigration Debates, the Constitutional Guarantee of Equal Protection and 'Birthright Citizenship' Has Been Bitterly Contested

The first clause of the 14th Amendment is a scant 28 words long. Yet when the amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, it advanced the crucial task of turning former slaves into full citizens of the United States. And by recognizing that anyone born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, is automatically a U.S. citizen, the amendment would go on to take center stage in some of the most important legal decisions of the last hundred years.

Now the 14th Amendment is again embroiled in …

How Alexander Hamilton Fought the Tyranny of the Majority

By Shielding British Loyalists From Persecution, the Founder Elevated Principles Over Prejudice

The struggles of America’s cultural outsiders to be included in the country—in the face of disparagement, exclusion, or punishment—are as old as the nation. And, as Alexander Hamilton discovered in …

At “Constitution Cafés,” We, the People, Try to Form a More Perfect Union

How I'm Getting Citizens Together to Rewrite Our Government’s Sacred Text

Are Americans finally ready to un-rig their Constitutional system?

I’ve spent nearly the past decade traveling the United States and talking with people about the Constitutional system, and I think the …

The Cane That Struck Against Slavery

For Eight Years, Congress Refused to Hear Petitions on Abolition. John Quincy Adams Received This Gift in Recognition of His Battle Against the ‘Gag Rule.’

The history of American democracy is often best revealed not in the nation’s founding documents, but in the activism and struggles of countless individuals to create a more perfect union. …