The Case Of Plessy V. Ferguson

1026 words - 4 pages

Background Summary1. Homer Plessy violated the Separate Car Act. This act provides separate but equal passenger coaches for blacks and whites. Plessy, who was one eighth black, violated this law by sitting in a compartment designated for whites.2. The Thirteenth Amendment provides that no slavery or involuntary servitude shall exist in the United States, unless as a sentenced punishment for a crime. The fourteenth amendment guarantees people born in the United States citizenship, and that all states must recognize them as citizens and grant them all rights given to citizens.3. The Separate Car Act violates the 13th Amendment because the 13th Amendment prevents the imposition of any disabilities that constitute badges of slavery or servitude. The Separate Car Act violates the 14th Amendment because the 14th Amendment provides that no state can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. This Act infringes on one's personal liberty to travel in whichever car one chooses without due process of law.4. Ferguson could legally justify his decision of the law's constitutionality in a single state but unconstitutional if the train traveled thru many states because it is a state's responsibility to decide how they handle their railroads, and that one state doesn't have the right to infringe on another state's rights.5.Separation by race and equality are incompatible. For example, in the case of education. Separation alone implies a sense of inferiority of one race to the superiority of another. Although the physical factors may be equal in a white school and a black school, the segregation and the inequality it implies can severely damage the mind of a student.6.An example of separation that does not mean inequality is separate bathrooms for men and women.Majority Opinion1.The justices state that the object of the fourteenth amendment is to establish equality before the law but not social equality.2.Political equality can be achieved through equal rights before the law, and it can be constitutionally protected. But social equality, as the voluntary commingling between races, cannot be forced upon the people of the US. But one cannot exist without the other. Without social equality there will always be bias which will infringe on the political equality of citizens.3.Within the statement ""legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or abolish distinctions based upon physical differences" the government shows that it is the belief of the country that there will always be racial tensions and that equality or unity between races will never be eradicated because it is the natural order of things.4.Although the decision states that they cannot overcome social prejudices and create social equality, they can reinforce such prejudices' existence. By segregating the two races in most manners of public life, the government is enforcing a distinction between the races; they are supporting the idea that one race is not worthy...

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