From Dred Scott to Slaughterhouse


Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, discussed how a State of the Union could indeed declare who may be a citizen. The State of Maine was referred to in the opinion as an example. However, such a citizen (in this case, a Negro of slave descent) could not qualify as a citizen of the several States under Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution.

The only way a Negro of slave descent could become a citizen under the Constitution of the United States was through an amendment to the Constitution.

This was accomplished with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the Fourteenth Amendment also changed citizenship under the Constitution.

After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court of the United States decided in the Slaughterhouse Cases that because of the Fourteenth Amendment there were now two separate and distinct citizens under the Constitution of the United States (and not the Fourteenth Amendment); a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the several States.

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