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The 14th Amendment: A Living Document

  • Portland Public Library, Rines Auditorium 5 Monument Way Portland, ME, 04101 United States (map)

David Blight will participate in a conversation about the Fourteenth Amendment along with Kenneth Mack (Harvard), moderated by Danielle Conway, Dean of the University of Maine School of Law. This event is sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council and the University of Maine School of Law.

When it first passed 150 years ago, this amendment, one of the “Reconstruction Amendments,” sought to clarify the relationship between the federal government and the states with regards to equality, citizenship, and liberty. The most litigated amendment, it has been cited in some of our most critical Supreme Court cases, including Plessy v. Ferguson (18 May 1896, which enshrined “separate but equal”), Brown v. Board of Education (17 May 1954, which dismantled “separate but equal”), Griswold v. Connecticut (07 Jun 1965, which created a “right to privacy”), Loving v. Virginia (12 Jun 1967, which permitted interracial marriage), and Obergefell v. Hodges (26 June 2015, which permitted same-sex marriage).

What is the historical context in which the amendment was written and passed? How has it influenced American life, over time and in the present day? These questions and more will be discussed by Professors Mack and Blight, moderated by Dean Conway.

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