(Episode 35) The Confederate Penalty Box: The 14th Amendment, Part 3 of 3
In this episode, we address the last four sections (Sections 2 through 5) of the Fourteenth Amendment. Each Section deals with a different issue that arose in Post-Civil-War, Reconstruction America.
Recall that Section 1 addressed some big concepts in Southern ideology and how to bring the Confederacy in line with Union ideals; think slavery, citizenship, and the like. The remaining Sections of the 14th Amendment deal more with logistics and, frankly, punishing those who rebelled. Specifically:
Section 2 deals with the apportionment of representatives now that former slaves have been freed. The short version -- big (enormously big) pro: freeing the slaves; con: giving the former Confederacy more voting power by increasing their counted populations. The longer version: here's our source.
Section 3 disqualifies former rebels from holding office unless Congress, by a two-thirds vote of each house, removes the disqualification. Eventually (in 1898), Congress removes the punishment for the rebellious South. But this section could still apply if there's ever a future rebellion.
Section 4 is all about the money. War is expensive, and the South better not question the bills. This Section creates the concept of the national debt (which, if you enjoy a little financial anxiety, is enormous today). We also take a little detour to talk about the gold standard...which we're no longer on.
Finally, Section 5 is an enforcement clause which gives Congress power to enact legislation to give effect to the rest of the Amendment.