•Further misinterpretations have led
to unnecessary restrictions. The Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified to
guarantee state citizenship to recently emancipated slaves, is now used to prohibit religious
activities in public affairs of the state. The words of the
Fourteenth Amendment can easily be misinterpreted if they are separated from their original
purpose. This misinterpretation usually occurs when one takes the Fourteenth Amendment and couples it
with the First. By doing so, the First Amendment is made applicable not only to the federal
government, which is its original intention, but to the state governments. This new intent was
created through decisions such as Cantwell v. Connecticut in 1940, Murdock v. Pennsylvania in 1943, and
Everson v. Board of Education in 1947.
•Section 1.All persons born or naturalized in the
United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of
the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.