I’m delighted to say that Prof. Kurt Lash (University of Illinois College of Law) will be guest-blogging next week about his new book, “The Fourteenth Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities of American Citizenship”:
This book presents the history behind a revolution in American liberty: the 1868 addition of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This exhaustively researched book follows the evolution in public understanding of “the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States,” from the early years of the Constitution to the critical national election of 1866.
For the first 92 years of our nation’s history, nothing in the American Constitution prevented states from abridging freedom of speech, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or denying the right of peaceful assembly. The suppression of freedom in the southern states convinced the Reconstruction Congress and the supporters of the Union to add an amendment forcing the states to respect the rights announced in the first eight amendments. But rather than eradicate state autonomy altogether, the people embraced the Fourteenth Amendment that expanded the protections of the Bill of Rights and preserved the Constitution’s original commitment to federalism and the principle of limited national power.
I know this is a subject that many of our readers find very interesting (as do I), and I much look forward to Lash’s posts!