The Bill of Rights and Incorporation

Explores incorporation of the Bill of Rights against the states as provided for in the Fourteenth Amendment. Highlights the controversies about incorporation as well as significant incorporation cases.

What is Incorporation?

Clock 50 minutes

The Fourteenth Amendment was originally written to ensure that freed slaves would be treated as citizens, but, in the twentieth century, the Supreme Court used the amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses to expand the protections provided in the Bill of Rights to the states. This concept of extending, called incorporation, means that the federal government uses the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights to address limitations on liberty by states against their citizens. This lesson explores the significance of this amendment and incorporation and its effects on our constitutional structure.

Founding Principles

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The people delegate certain powers to the national government, while the states retain other powers; and the people, who authorize the states and national government, retain all freedoms not delegated to the governing bodies.

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

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