Plessy Vs. Ferguson: Racial Injustice In The 14th Amendment

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THE 14TH AMENDMENT
In this paper, I will be talking about the equal protection of laws clause in 14th amendment interpreted in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. This paper will focus on the concern over racial injustice in the judgment of Plessy v. Ferguson. Racial injustice is being looked in several aspects i.e. the argument of absolute equality, the objection to inferiority argument, the personal liberty argument and the good faith argument. In the end, I will conclude that the decision of Plessy v. Ferguson is a pernicious decision.
A general interpretation of the Equal Protection of Laws clause would mean that every individual must be treated in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. A breach of this clause would take place if the individual is forbidden from entering a certain area only because he/she belongs to a particular race etc. However, the US Supreme Courts have interpreted this clause in a different way. The equal protection clause was interpreted as an equal application of all laws. It denied the states to discriminate in application of laws but followed the doctrine of separate but equal
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Hence there is no discrimination. However, the point that the Supreme Court seems to be missing is the freedom of personal liberty. (“Life, Liberty of Property without due process of Law”)While the object of the 14th amendment was to enforce absolute equality, it included personal liberty. If the amendment is enforced in its true meaning, it means to protect all civil rights that pertain to freedom and citizenship. Liberty consists of the power to move around and follow one’s own will under without any restraint unless prohibited by law. By discriminating only on the grounds of race for a seat in railway coach, it is restricting not only equality but also the right to personal

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