TITLE

THE ORIGINS OF CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA

AUTHOR(S)
White, G. Edward
PUB. DATE
April 2014
SOURCE
Case Western Reserve Law Review;Spring2014, Vol. 64 Issue 3, p755
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This Article makes three contributions. First, it represents the first sustained effort to identify and trace the origins of the legal category of civil rights in American constitutional jurisprudence. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the category of civil rights did not extend back to the Declaration of Independence or to the framing of the Constitution. There was no established category of "civil rights" in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American law, although one can find discussion of the "privileges and immunities" of citizens of the United States and occasional mention of the term "civil rights." The category only came into being with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 18661 and received its first judicial interpretations in the context of the Reconstruction-era constitutional amendments. In the decades of the 1870s and 1880s, the category was refined, but there was never a clear consensus about the content or scope of civil rights, or the extent to which they could be enforced by the federal government.
ACCESSION #
100205717

 

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