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United States v. Cruikshank


UNITED STATES V. CRUIKSHANK, 92 U.S. 542 (1876). The Enforcement Acts of 1870 forbade interference with a citizen's constitutional rights on the basis of race and were designed to protect African American voters from Ku Klux Klan violence. However, in 1876 the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the conviction of a number of whites who had rioted to prevent African Americans from voting. The Court ruled that the Constitution did not grant the rights of assembling peaceably and bearing arms; it merely prohibited Congress from infringing upon those rights. The Fourteenth Amendment's due process and equal protection clauses guaranteed citizens protection against encroachment by the states, but not against encroachment by other citizens, the Court ruled.


Gillette, William. The Right to Vote: Politics and the Passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965.

Rogers, Donald W., and Christine Scriabine, eds. Voting and the Spirit of American Democracy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Ransom E. Noble Jr. / a. r.

See also Civil Rights and Liberties ; Disfranchisement ; Equal Protection of the Law ; Force Acts ; Jim Crow Laws ; Mississippi Plan ; Reconstruction ; Supreme Court .

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