In 1857, the Supreme Court, with 7 of the 9 Justices being Democrat, decided that Dred Scott was not a citizen, but property.
Chief Justice Roger Taney, appointed by Democrat President Andrew Jackson, wrote that slaves were “so far inferior…that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for their own benefit.”
After the Civil War, the 13TH AMENDMENT was adopted December 6, 1865, abolishing slavery in America.
Southern Democrat Legislatures then passed Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws, requiring freed slaves to be “apprenticed” to “employers” and punished any who left.
On November 22, 1865, Republicans denounced Mississippi’s Democrat legislature for enacting “black codes” which institutionalized racial discrimination.
On February 5, 1866, Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens introduced legislation to give former slaves “40 acres and a mule,” but Democrats opposed it, led by President Andrew Johnson.
On April 9, 1866, Republicans in Congress overrode Democrat President Johnson’s veto and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring rights of citizenship on African-Americans.
To force Southern States to grant State citizenship rights to freed slaves, the U.S. House passed the 14TH AMENDMENT, May 10, 1866, as did the Senate, June 8, 1866. One hundred percent of Democrats voted against it.
The 14TH AMENDMENT was adopted by the States on JULY 28, 1868.
Republican Congressman John Farnsworth of Illinois stated, March 31, 1871:
“The reason for the adoption (of the 14TH AMENDMENT)…was because of… discriminating… legislation of those States… by which they were punishing one class of men under different laws from another class.”
On January 8, 1867, Republicans granted voting rights to African-Americans in the District of Columbia, after overriding Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto.
On July 19, 1867, Republican passed legislation protecting voting rights of African-Americans, after overriding Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto.
On March 30, 1868, Republicans began impeachment proceedings of Democrat President Andrew Johnson.
On September 12, 1868, Democrats in Georgia’s Senate expelled Civil rights activist Tunis Campbell and 24 other Republican African-Americans, who would later be reinstated by a Republican Congress.
On October 22, 1868, while campaigning for re-election, Republican Congressman James Hinds was assassinated by Democrat terrorists who organized vigilante groups known for intimidation tactics and lynchings.
The 15TH AMENDMENT was passed February 3, 1870, overcoming 97 percent Democrat opposition, granting the right to vote to all Americans regardless of race.
On May 31, 1870, Republican President U.S. Grant signed the Enforcement Act, providing stiff penalties for depriving any American of their civil rights.
On June 22, 1870, Republican Congress created the U.S. Department of Justice to safeguard the civil rights of African-Americans against Democrats in the South.
On February 28, 1871, Republican Congress passed the Enforcement Act providing federal protection for African-American voters.
On April 20, 1871, Republican Congress enacted the Ku Klux Klan Act, outlawing Democratic Party-affiliated terrorist groups which oppressed African-Americans.
On October 10, 1871, African-American Republican civil rights leader Octavius Catto was murdered by a Democratic Party operative, after repeated threats by Philadelphia Democrats against black voting.
On October 18, 1871, Republican President Ulysses S. Grant deployed U.S. troops to combat violence committed by Democrat terrorists who formed the Ku Klux Klan.
In solving one problem, another was created.
When questioned as to whether the 14th Amendment might open the door for the Federal Government to usurp other rights away from the States, its sponsor, Republican Congressman John Bingham of Ohio, replied:
“I repel the suggestion…that the Amendment will…take away from any State any right that belongs to it.”
Yet after the 14th Amendment was ratified, activist Federal Judges began to do just that.
Darwinist philosopher Herbert Spencer influenced Harvard Law School dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to apply evolution to the legal process.
Rather than upholding the intent of those who wrote the laws, Langdell taught that laws could evolve through a series of “case precedents.”
This influenced Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., to challenge the traditionalist concept that the Constitution does not change, so neither should its interpretation.
The 14th Amendment soon became a door by which Federal Courts gradually took authority away from the States in other areas such as trade disputes, union strikes, what farmers could grow, and eventually religion.
Federal Judges gradually began using the 14th Amendment to remove from States’ jurisdiction responsibility for:
-Freedom of speech and press, Gitlow v. New York, 1925 (re: Socialists) and Fiske v. Kansas, 1927 (re: Unions);
-Freedom of press, Near v. Minnesota, 1931 (re: anti-Catholics); and
-Freedom of assembly, DeJonge v. Oregon, 1937 (re: Communists).
Federal Judges used the 14th Amendment to remove responsibility for religious freedom from States’ jurisdiction in cases regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1940; Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940; Jones v. Opelika, 1942; Taylor v. Mississippi, 1943; Martin v. Struthers, 1943; United States v. Ballard, 1944; Saia v. New York, 1948; and Niemotoko v. Maryland, 1951.
Cases of anti-Catholic discrimination were appealed to the Supreme Court:
Pierce v. Society of Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 1925, and Everson v. Board of Education, 1947.
Since then, Federal Courts used a case by case “crucible of litigation” (Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985) to evolve the First Amendment into its present anti-religious interpretation.
Thomas Jefferson warned that this would eventually happen, in a letter to Charles Hammond in 1821:
“The germ of dissolution of our…government is in…the Federal judiciary…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow…until all shall be usurped from the States.”
The pre-14TH AMENDMENT view of “Separation of Church and State” was to simply to limit the Federal Government, as President Thomas Jefferson stated in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:
“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General (Federal) Government.
I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State and church authorities by the several religious societies.”
On January 23, 1808, Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller:
“I consider the (Federal) Government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.
This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States (10th Amendment).
Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General (Federal) government. It must then rest with the States as far as it can be in any human authority…
I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines…
Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”
Summing up the pre-14TH AMENDMENT view, Justice Joseph Story wrote in A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840:
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”
In his Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote:
“In some of the States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers…
The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State Constitutions.”
When North Carolina was considering ratifying the U.S. Constitution, its Governor, Samuel Johnston, argued, July 30, 1788:
“The people of Massachusetts and Connecticut are mostly Presbyterians…
In Rhode Island, the tenets of the Baptists, I believe, prevail.
In New York, they are divided very much; the most numerous are the Episcopalians and the Baptists.
In New Jersey, they are as much divided as we are.
In Pennsylvania, if any sect prevails more than others, it is that of the Quakers.
In Maryland, the Episcopalians are most numerous, though there are other sects.
In Virginia, there are many sects…
I hope, therefore, that gentlemen will see there is no cause of fear that any one religion shall be exclusively established.”
In 1889, John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Company) hinted of the novel use of the 14TH AMENDMENT in its definition of the word “Religion”:
“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’… By establishment of religion is meant the setting up of state church, or at least conferring upon one church of special favors which are denied to others…
The Christian religion is, of course, recognized by the government, yet…the preservation of religious liberty is left to the States…
This provision and that relating to religious tests are limitations upon the power of the (Federal) Congress only…Perhaps the Fourteenth Amendment may give additional securities if needful.”
Justice Joseph Story wrote in his Commentaries, 1833:
“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution…the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.
Any attempt to level all religions, and make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.