The High Tide of Reconstruction

George Rutherglen

in Civil Rights in the Shadow of Slavery

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199739707
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979363 | DOI:
The High Tide of Reconstruction

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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

Chapter.  10259 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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