July 28, 1868: The 14th Amendment is Ratified

On this day in 1868, the 14th Amendment was ratified into the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing full protection to all males over 21, including former slaves. But it took a lot of hard work to get there. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 in hopes of changing the nation's perception about the practice of slavery. Douglass went on to publish a weekly antislavery newspaper in Rochester, NY, called The North Star. It was four pages long and sold by subscription at the cost of $2 per year. It had more than 4,000 readers in the U.S., Europe, and the West Indies. In June 1851, the paper merged with the Liberty Party Paper of Syracuse, NY and was renamed Frederick Douglass' Paper. It circulated under this new name until 1860, when Douglass left the U.S to lecture in England. One year later, the U.S. Civil War broke out, with slavery being a major issue of difference between the North and South.