Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Mackey, Thomas C., 1956-

Author's Keywords

American history; African American civil rights; Federalism; Constitutional law; Supreme court


Federal government--United States--History--19th century; States' rights (American politics)--History--19th century; African Americans--Civil rights--History--19th century; United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment


This thesis is set in the context of the Reconstruction to examine the United States Supreme Court interpretation of federalism, African American civil rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. This thesis first compares federalism before and after the Civil War and the need to include Africans Americans in post war society. This thesis then explores arguments and debates surrounding the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and the civil rights legislation. Finally, this thesis analyzes the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment and new civil rights legislation. During Reconstruction the United States Supreme Court upheld the traditional values of federalism and, therefore, the federal government could not interfere with state governments' protection of African American civil rights.