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No. 172. Act to enforce the Fourteenth
April 20, 1871
A BILL to enforce the provisions of the fourteenth amendment was reported in the House March 28, 1871, by Samuel Shellabarger of Ohio, from the select committee to which had been referred the President's message of March 23 on the condition of affairs in the South. The bill formed the principal subject of debate until April 6, when, with amendments, it passed the House by a vote of 118 to 91, 18 not voting. The Senate added, among others, an amendment offered by Sherman making counties, cities, parishes, etc., liable for injuries done to any person by reason of his race or color, and on the 14th passed the bill, the vote being 45 to 19, 6 not voting. The House, by a vote of 45 to 132, 53 not voting, rejected the principal Senate amendment, and also refused, by a vote of 74 to 106, 50 not voting, to agree to a report of a conference committee retaining the objectionable section. A second conference committee reported a compromise in the terms of section 6 of the act. The report was agreed to April 19, in the House by a vote of 93 to 74, 63 not voting, and in the Senate by a vote of 36 to 13. A proclamation calling attention to the act as one of “extraordinary public importance” was issued May 3.
REFERENCES. Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XVII., 13-15. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 42d Cong., ist Sess., and the Cong. Globe. The “Ku Klux" report is House Report 22 and Senate Report 41, 42d Cong., 2d Sess.
An Act to enforce the Provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other Purposes.
Be it enacted. That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any person within the jurisdiction of the United States to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States, shall, any such law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of the State to the contrary notwithstanding, be liable to the party injured in any action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress; 'such proceeding to be prosecuted in the several district or dircuit courts of the United States, with and subject to the same rights of appeal, review upon error, and other remedies provided in like cases in
such courts, under the provisions of the [Civil Rights Act) : and the other remedial laws of the United States which are in their nature applicable in such cases.
SEC. 2. That if two or more persons within any State or Territory of the United States shall conspire together to overthrow, or to put down, or to destroy by force the government of the United States, or to levy war against the United States, or to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States, or by force, intimidation, or threat to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, or by force, intimidation, or threat to prevent any person from accepting or holding any office or trust or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging the duties thereof, or by force, intimidation, or threat to induce any officer of the United States to leave any State, district, or place where his duties as such officer might lawfully be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or to injure his person while engaged in the lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duty, or by force, intimidation, or threat to deter any party or witness in any court of the United States from attending such court, or from testifying in any matter pending in such court fully, freely, and truthfully, or to injure any such party or witness in his person or property on account of his having so attended or testified, or by force, intimidation, or threat to influence the verdict, presentment, or indictment, of any juror or grand juror in any court of the United States, or to injure such juror in his person or property on account of any verdict, presentment, or indictment lawfully assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or shall conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway or upon the premises of another for the purpose, either directly or indirectly, of depriving any person or any class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges or immunities under the laws, or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State from giving
or securing to all persons within such State the equal protection of the laws, or shall conspire together for the purpose of in any manner impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent to deny to any citizen of the United States the due and equal protection of the laws, or to injure any person in his person or his property for lawfully enforcing the right of any person or class of persons to the equal protection of the laws, or by force, intimidation, or threat to prevent any citizen of the United States lawfully entitled to vote from giving his support or advocacy in a lawful manner towards or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector of President or Vice-President of the United States, or as a member of the Congress of the United States, or to injure any such citizen in his person or property on account of such support or advocacy, each and every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high crime, and, upon conviction thereof in any district or circuit court of the United States or district or supreme court of any Territory of the United States having jurisdiction of similar offences, shall be punished by a fine not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, as the court may determine, for a period of not less than six months nor more than six years, as the court may determine, or by both such fine and imprisonment as the court shall determine.
SEC. 3. That in all cases where insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combinations, or conspiracies in any State shall so obstruct or hinder the execution of the laws thereof, and of the United States, as to deprive any portion or class of the people of such State of any of the rights, privileges, or immunities, or protection, named in the Constitution and secured by this act, and the constituted authorities of such State shall either be unable to protect, or shall, from any cause, fail in or refuse protection of the people in such rights, such facts shall be deemed a denial by such State of the equal protection of the laws to which they are entitled under the Constitution of the United States; and in all such cases . . . it shall be lawful for the President, and it shall he his duty to take such measures, by the employment of the militia or the land and naval forces of the
United States, or of either, or by other means, as he may deem necessary for the suppression of such insurrection, domestic violence, or combinations.
SEC. 4. That whenever in any State or part of a State the unlawful combinations named in the preceding section of this act shall be organized and armed, and so numerous and powerful as to be able, by violence, to either overthrow or set at defiance the constituted authorities of such State, and of the United States within such State, or when the constituted authorities are in complicity with, or shall connive at the unlawful purposes of, such powerful and armed combinations; and whenever, by reason of either or all of the causes aforesaid, the conviction of such offenders and the preservation of the public safety shall become in such district impracticable, in every such case such combinations shall be deemed a rebellion against the government of the United States, and during the continuance of such rebellion, and within the limits of the district which shall be so under the sway thereof, such limits to be prescribed by proclamation, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, when in his judgment the public safety shall require it, to suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus, to the end that such rebellion may be overthrown: Provided, That all the provisions of the second section of ... [the Habeas Corpus Act of March 3, 1863] ·
which relate to the discharge of prisoners other than prisoners of war, and to the penalty for refusing to obey the order of the court, shall be in full force so far as the same are applicable to the provisions of this section: Provided further, That the President shall first have made proclamation, as now provided by law, commanding such insurgents to disperse: And provided also, That the provisions of this section shall not be in force after the end of the next regular session of Congress.
Sec. 5. That no person shall be a grand or petit juror in any court of the United States upon any inquiry, hearing, or trial of any suit, proceeding, or prosecution based upon or arising under the provisions of this act who shall, in the judgment of the court, be in complicity with any such combination or conspiracy; and every such juror shall, before entering upon any such inquiry, hearing, or trial, take and subscribe an oath in
open court that he has never, directly or indirectly, counselled, advised, or voluntarily aided any such combination or conspiracy. ...
Act removing Political Disabili
May 22. 1872
MAY 13, 1872, the House having before it a number of bills for the removal of the political disabilities of the persons named therein, the rules were suspended, and a general bill for the removal of disabilities imposed by the fourteenth amendment was introduced by Butler of Massachusetts, from the Committee on the Judiciary, and passed. The Senate passed the bill on the 21st by a vote of 38 to 2. The debate was without special interest. The disabilities not provided for by this act were removed by an act of June 6, 1898.
REFERENCES. — Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XVII., 142. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 42d Cong., ist Sess., and the Cong. Record.
An Act to remove political Disabilities imposed by the fourteenth
Article of the Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
Be it enacted ..., (two-thirds of each house concurring therein), That all political disabilities imposed by the third section of the fourteenth article of amendments of the Constitution of the Urited States are hereby removed from all persons whomsoever, except Senators and Representatives of the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh Congresses, officers in the judicial, military, and naval service of the United States, heads of departments, and foreign ministers of the United States.