Anniversary of Tennessee ratification of the 14th Amendment

Today is the anniversary of Tennessee's ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, a day we should all celebrate.

The path to ratification in Tennessee wasn't easy.  As the Tennessee State Museum points out:

 Many white Tennesseans were divided on this issue. President Johnson also opposed the amendment. 

Some of the Tennessee legislators decided to refuse to attend the session when they were supposed to vote on the 14th Amendment. They hoped there would not be a quorum—a number of legislators required to be present in order for a vote to count. 
 
Governor Brownlow found out about their plan, and he had two of the legislators arrested and imprisoned in the state capitol building. They were counted as being present even though they did not vote. The legislature did vote in favor of ratifying the 14th Amendment. Tennessee became the first Confederate state to re-enter the United States.
As hard as it was in Tennessee, getting the 14th Amendment ratified in the rest of the former Confederacy was even more difficult.  This piece from PBS notes:
With the exception of Tennessee, the Southern states refused to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. The Republicans then passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which set the conditions the Southern states had to accept before they could be readmitted to the union, including ratification of the 14th Amendment.
So much of the progress for equality in our country on so many fronts can be traced to the 14th Amendment.  Its work is not yet done.  But on this day we can appreciate that Tennessee ratified it and that it was an important basis for the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling whose anniversary we recently celebrated.

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