Privileges or Immunities

Originally, the Bill of Rights bound only the national government, not the states. Prior to the Civil War, states could violate key protections like free speech and religious liberty—and many Southern states did by banning abolitionist speech. This clause was designed to attack those abuses and protect national liberty, demanding that states respect the “privileges or immunities” of U.S. citizens.

Jan 26, 1866
Bingham looks to protect rights

Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to secure to all persons in every state full protection in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property; and to all citizens of the United States in any State the same immunities and also equal political rights and privileges.

Feb 2, 1866
Bingham suggests further revisions

The Congress shall have the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to secure to the citizens of each State all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and to all persons in the several States equal protection in the rights of life, liberty, and property.

Apr 20, 1866
Joint Committee proposes bundled amendment

No discrimination shall be made by any state, nor by the United States, as to the civil rights of persons because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. From and after [July 4, 1876], no discrimination shall be made . . . as to the enjoyment by classes of persons of the right of suffrage, because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. . . . Debts incurred in aid of insurrection or of war against the Union, and claims of compensation for loss of involuntary service or labor, shall not be paid by any State nor by the United States. Congress shall have power to enforce . . .

Apr 27, 1866
Bingham proposes a revised Section One

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

May 9, 1866
Joint Committee's resolution considered in House

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States . . . excluding Indians not taxed. . . Until [July 4, 1870], all persons who voluntarily adhered to the late insurrection . . . . Neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation . . . incurred . . . in aid of insurrection or of war against the United States . . . The Congress shall have power to enforce. . .

Jun 12, 1866
14th Amendment Final Text

Section One: All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. . . Section Two: Representatives shall be apportioned . . . Section Three: No person shall . . . hold any office . . . Section Four: The validity of the public debt . . . Section Five: The Congress shall have power to enforce.