The Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed by Congress in 1866 and ratified in 1868, is also known as the Equal Protection Clause. In essence, this Amendment was designed to guarantee the rights and the government protection of all United States citizens, both native born and naturalized (n.d.). It is also known as the state apportionment law as well as the Civil War Debt clause which gave the government the right to tax citizens to pay for debts incurred during acts of war (Amendment XIV, n.d.).
Even though there were exceptions during the first decades after passing the 14th Amendment guaranteeing the rights of citizens such as the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision, for the most part the Amendment did grant citizenship to Native Americans as well as the children of former slaves born while the parents were still in captivity (Stephens, 2014). It is for this primary reason that the Fourteenth Amendment is considered one of the strongest, most positive ones passed during American History.
Another reason why the Fourteenth Amendment is one of the best ones passed is that it mandated the states have proper districts drawn and maintained so representation in Congress can be on a more equal footing (Stephens, 2014). Section two of the Amendment spells out specifically how these numbers are to be tallied in each state to determine equal representation, and Section three also goes further into stating that a person who has participated in any type of rebellious action against America or had been proven to previously given aid or comfort to enemies of America are disqualified from serving in Congress or any federal appointment (Amendment XIV, n.d.). This was most likely and aftereffect of the Civil War and the people who were engaged in giving aid to those once considered friends before the conflict broke out (Stephens, 2014).