Due Process

This clause banned states from denying any person due process of law—ensuring that people would receive fair treatment from state authorities before any loss of life, liberty, or property. Without federal guarantees, the Reconstruction Republicans were concerned, in part, that African Americans might not be permitted to enjoy even these basic rights.

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.