"We The People" hunting

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    "All Men are created Equal" and "We The People" hunting

  • New Jersey Constitution of 1776

    New Jersey Constitution of 1776
    In stating "That all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are
    worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same...", the
    New Jersey Constitution of 1776 gave the right of suffrage equally to men, women, and people of color. In 1807 the document is rewritten to specify only white men.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    The final draft of The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776. It dedicated the new nation to the ideas that "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights - that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness..." But what does that mean and what does that look like?
  • The Articles Of Confederation

    The Articles Of Confederation
    On this date The Articles of Confederation were adopted, in which the states entered into "...a firm league of friendship with each other..." Unlike the Declaration and later Constitution, it never acknowledges "the people" and treats the states as independent, sovereign entities. Inherent weaknesses lead to its failure as a national government.
  • The Consitution is signed

    The Consitution is signed
    The Federal (Constitutional) Convention convened in the State House in Philadelphia in May 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. It was soon clear the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. The new Consitution was signed by delegates on Sept. 17, 1787. Starting with "We The People" it translated then to white "Protestant" land owners; Catholics, Jews, Quakers and others were often excluded.
  • The Constitution is ratified

    The Constitution is ratified
    The Constitution became binding upon nine States by the ratification of the ninth State, New Hampshire, June 21, 1788. Notice of this ratification was received by Congress on July 2, 1788. In this cartoon published in the Charleston City Gazette on July 22, 1788, "Fame" announces the ratification of the Consitution. Note the 3 empty pedestals for the final 3 columns - New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
  • Bill of Rights ratified

    Bill of Rights ratified
    Originally there were 17 amendments that Representative James Madison of Virginia championed through the House in the early months of the Congress, a list that was later trimmed to 12 in the Senate. Sent to each of the states on October 2, 1789, by December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified the 10 amendments now so famous as the Bill of Rights.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican American War officially made Mexicans living in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada citizens of the United States, but property and literacy laws and other intimidation techniques keep many from being able to vote.
  • Dred Scott vs. John F.A. Sandford

    Dred Scott vs. John F.A. Sandford
    In 1846, the slave Dred Scott who had lived for a time with his master in the Wisconsin territory, sued for his freedom. In what is widely considered the worst decision by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney stated, among other things, that Negroes were not citizens and had no right to bring suit in Federal courts.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation

    The Emancipation Proclamation
    Announced by Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862, and effective Jan. 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation stated "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious areas "are, and henceforward shall be free." Passed as a war-time measure and debated as to whether it actually freed anyone, it was an important step toward ending slavery in the U.S.
  • 13th Amendment ratified

    13th Amendment ratified
    Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment provided that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction", thus formally ending the institution of slavery in the United States.
  • 14th Amendment ratified

    14th Amendment ratified
    The 14th Amendment, in granting citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” granted citizenship to former slaves. It largely failed, however, to protect the rights of black citizens.
  • 15th Amendment ratified

    15th Amendment ratified
    The last of the "Reconstruction Amendments", the 15th amendment gave (on paper) the right to vote to African-Americans males. Many states, however, enacted local laws designed to limit this rights; some of these laws lasting for almost 100 years.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    Fueled by anti-Chinese resentment dating back to the California Gold Rush and stating that "the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof", the Chinese Exclusion Act denied citizenship and voting rights to Chinese in the U.S. and strongly limited further Chinese immigration.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    The case of Plessy v. Ferguson in which Homer Plessy, a mulatto (7/8 white), was arrested for violating Louisiana state law by riding in a whites-only railroad coach supported the Jim Crow "separate but equal" restrictions of the South.
  • Women's Suffrage

    Women's Suffrage
    Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. Tennessee, the state that put the amendment "over the top" in the ratification process, approved the amendment by a 1-vote margin.
  • Ozawa v. The United States

    Ozawa v. The United States
    In the case, Japanese-born Takao Ozawa was denied citizenship based on the idea that statute limited eligibility to "free white persons and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent." The 1923 United States v. Thind decision further defined this ethnological stance.
  • Indian Citizenship Act

    Indian Citizenship Act
    The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act, finally gave all those classifed as Native Americans U.S. citizenship - not something they all wanted. Even with this act, not all Native Americans could vote until the last two states, Arizona and New Mexico, ended restrictions in 1948.
  • Finally

    Finally. On April 19, 1939, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, Connecticut finally ratified the first 10 amendments - last of the 14 possible states to do so (Vermont had joined the U.S. in 1791). Betcha didn't know that one, did ya?
  • Chinese Exclusion Act repealed

    Chinese Exclusion Act repealed
    Noting our friendly realtionship with China during World War 2 and trying to stop Japanese propoganda, Congress passed the Magnuson Act which effectively repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    With the case of Brown v. Board of Education which outlawed racial segregation in public schools, Civil Rights activists began chipping away at the policy of "separate but equal."
  • "I have a Dream" speech

    "I have a Dream" speech
    Delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a Dream" speech once again challenged America to live up to the ideal "that All men are created Equal."
  • 24th Amendment ratified

    24th Amendment ratified
    The 24th Amendment prohibited poll taxes in any election for federal officials. These taxes had kept many blacks and poor whites from voting for years.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Among a series of acts in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 helped secure rights that had been granted African-Americans almost 100 years before by the 14th amendment.
  • Voting Rights Act passed.

    Voting Rights Act passed.
    An “act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution”, on this date President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Among other things, it barred literacy tests as a precondition for voting. By the end of 1965 almost a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered.
  • 26th Amendment ratified

    26th Amendment ratified
    Ratified in only 100 days, the fastest ever for a Constitutional Amendment, the 26th Amendment lowered the legal voting age for federal, state, and local elections to 18.
  • Americans With Disabilities Act

    Americans With Disabilities Act
    A further development of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and called by some "the world's first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities" the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits, under certain circumstances, descrimination based on disability.