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John Bingham, the 14th Amendment, Section 1

In early 1866, the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Reconstruction in the 39th Congress wrestled with the idea that they must write a 14th Amendment to address certain issues:

Who is a citizen? How does the country's laws apply to former slaves and slave owners? Will former Confederate officials hold elected office now in the Union? Will former slaveholders receive any compensation for the loss of their property? Who will pay the Confederacy's debts?

Most important, who will rule supreme: state governments or the federal government?

The Joint Committee members wanted an all-encompassing Amendment...


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