In the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court struck down Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” policy when it ruled that segregation of public school children based on race was unconstitutional.
In Shelly v. Kraemer, the Supreme Court reinforced the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws" when it ruled that state courts could not enforce racially restrictive housing covenants.
The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. The amendment prohibited poll taxes for federal elections, which had often been imposed by state and local governments to prevent African Americans from voting.
Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which declared that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridge by the United States or any State on account of sex,” but the amendment was never ratified.
Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, Peter S. Onuf has written extensively on sectionalism, federalism, and political economy, with a particular emphasis on the political thought of Thomas Jefferson. In this lecture, he looks at Jefferson’s opinions about federal government.