Equal Protection and Affirmative Action

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Case background and primary documents concerning Plessy v. Ferguson. Dealing with the principle of Equal Protection, this lesson asks students to evaluate the degree to which custom, precedent, and understanding of federalism informed the ruling in the case.

Founding Principles

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Equal Protection

The principle of equal justice under law means that every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law. There are no individuals or groups who are born with the right to rule over others.

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Equality

Every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law.

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Liberty

Except where authorized by citizens through the Constitution, the government does not have the authority to limit freedom.

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