Publication Year



Fourteenth amendment, United States, constitution, politics, history


Law | Legal History | Political Science | United States History


Strauss presents an obstacle to interpretation that is as true to the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment as it was to the Hiero. There will always remain an ambiguity in the interpretation of statements, conversations, and other interpretations. While I do not suggest here that the interpreter assumes a privileged place vis-a-vis the text, I am stating an obvious problem that one encounters in interpretation.

The interpretation of the original intent and understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment poses a daunting array of obstacles. To get at that intent, there are a variety of ways one can go about finding clues. Some interpreters suggest that one can take from the debates of the 39th Congress that approved the Amendment to be sent to the States. Others suggest that those ratifying the Amendment in the States should receive a privileged position. Still others suggest that one can discern the intentions of the framers by looking at their historical situation and what values and modes of thought they held. Undergirding any endeavor taken today is the hurdle of judicial interpretation that has actually taken the preferred place in any search for what the Constitution really means.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science