I Violate the 14th Amendment Daily

So, I was just reading through U.S. Constitutional Amendments (don’t ask), and I came across an interesting bit in the 14th.

Apparently, Section 4 of the 14th Amendment forbids questioning of the U.S. public debt (now ~$17 trillion).

Anyways, I thought that it was pretty amusing that that wording was in the 14th Amendment. I know it’s meant to forbid more official questioning, but I wonder if it could ever be used to lock up an individual for protesting.

Or, if you prefer the official text from the Library of Congress, here’s the link. It’s a big image, so I’m not embedding it.

You’re missing the second part of that.

But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

What this meant was that the debt of the united states was valid debt, payable by the united states, but the debt of the confederate states (or , any state or nation that takes up arms against the US) will not be valid US debt.

Basically what was happening was that former confederate soldiers and slaveholders and just general people were billing the US government for costs incurred as a result of the civil war. This was a way of stating those debts were not valid debts and thus could not be actioned on.


Don’t worry, I read the whole thing. I know that that’s why that section of the Amendment was included originally, but it is still on the books.

And the sentence which I quoted includes, but is not limited to, debts incurred for suppressing rebellion.

1 Like

don’t give them any ideas :confused:


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