Read the passage by Congressman John Bingham, one of the architects of the 14th Amendment.
. . .there remains a want now, in the Constitution of our country, which the pro posed amendment will supply. What is it? It is the power in the people ... to do that by Congressional enactment which hitherto they have not had the power to do ... that is to protect by national law the privileges and immunities of all the citizens of the Republic and the inborn rights of every person . . . whenever the same shall be abridged or denied by the [already] unconstitutional acts of any State. Allow me ... in passing, to say that this amendment takes from no State any right that ever pertained to it. No State ever had the right, under the forms of law or other wise, to deny to any freeman the equal protection of the laws or to abridge the privileges or immunities of any citizen of the Republic, although many of them have assumed and exercised the power....
- What is Bingham addressing; what is the purpose of the 14th Amendment?
- Who is his audience? Who is he trying to reassure?
- What genre (mode) of communication did he use?
- What conventions is he challenging?