The three constitutional amendments of the Civil War and
Reconstruction era constituted a new, even revolutionary,
foundation for the United States: “a new birth of freedom” in the
famous words of President and lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. The Fourteenth Amendment and particularly Section 1 form a “second
[United States] Constitution.” Section 1’s language and its
embedded values held the promise (a promise delayed, no doubt)
and a vision of moving the country toward a more perfect nation.