He also explained that since the intention of the 13th Amendment was clearly to end African-American slavery, it would be improper to understand this alleged deprivation of livelihood as covered by the amendment. The Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) was a supreme court case which became the first to interpret the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments. More importantly, in limiting the protection of the privileges and immunities clause, the court unwittingly weakened the power of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect the civil rights of blacks. As a result of the Slaughterhouse Cases, the butchers in New Orleans were forced to deal with the monopoly granted to Crescent City Livestock. In 1869 the Louisiana state legislature granted a monopoly of the New Orleans slaughtering business to a single corporation. Updates? The decision consolidated two similar cases. Field dissented against the majority decision upholding the state law. When Reconstruction eventually ends, how might this interpretation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the powers of the state and national governments affect African American civil rights in the South. Justice Miller then turned to the question of whether the butchers’ “privileges or immunities” were violated by the Louisiana statute. Jonathan Stahl is an intern at the National Constitution Center. When the Supreme Court heard the Slaughterhouse Cases in 1873, they were tasked with interpreting the meaning and scope of the Reconstruction Amendments passed after the Civil War. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Miller, Samuel Freeman, "U.S. Reports: Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) The originally intended meaning of various constitutional clauses is a source of constant discussion among scholars and jurists.

He is also a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in politics, philosophy and economics. Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center.

The white, French butchers inside the city of New Orleans had been creating a sanitary and health issue for the city for decades. What did the Supreme Court mean when it argued that "it is only the former which are placed by this clause under the protection of the Federal Constitution, and that the latter, whatever they may be, are not intended to have any additional protection by this paragraph of the amendment?" Although all slaughterhouses were banned from operating in the area, independent butchers could still slaughter animals on the company's grounds for a fee. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).

This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Slaughterhouse-Cases, Fact Monster - History - Slaughterhouse Cases. After slaughterhouse practices continued to contaminate New Orleans drinking water, Louisiana state legislature passed an act that allowed the city to create a company which essentially monopolized the slaughterhouse industry. The Slaughterhouse Cases represented a temporary reversal in the trend toward centralization of power in the federal government. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the butchers by rejecting what would eventually become the doctrine of incorporation of the Bill of Rights. The privileges and immunities of U.S. citizenship are narrow and only those specified in the Constitution, which include the right to freely travel throughout the states. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. This week’s show features the Slaughterhouse Cases.

Recent Historical Stories on Constitution Daily. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. All rights reserved. Through this narrow reading, Justice Miller effectively rendered the Privileges or Immunities Clause impotent—despite the fact that its drafter, Representative John Bingham of Ohio, had explained on the House floor that the clause was meant to give Congress the power to enforce the Bill of Rights against the states. All butchers interested in slaughtering meat had to do so at Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughterhouse Company.

State officials explained that centralizing meat production would increase the welfare of both workers and consumers through the labor and health standards enforced at the Crescent City slaughterhouse.

Omissions? 36 (1873)," 1872. Later, in Adamson v. California, Justice Hugo Black wrote that the historical record was clear that Bingham’s intention was to ensure that state governments could not violate the rights outlined in the first ten amendments. 36 (1873)," 1872. How is it possible that a person can have two types of citizenship? The amendment did not, however, shift control over all civil rights from the states to the federal government.

Furthermore, the butchers argued that the law infringed on citizens’ “privileges or immunities” and deprived individuals of property without “due process of law.” The Court was thus asked to decide the scope and meaning of the newly passed amendments while their ratification was “fresh within the memory of us all.”. Through this narrow interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court essentially ruled that the federal government did not have broad power to enforce civil rights, believing that to do so would infringe on a power that had always and needed to continue to belong to the individual states in a federal system of government. When the suit reached the Supreme Court in 1873, it presented the first test of the Fourteenth Amendment, a Reconstruction measure ratified in 1868. He said that “under no construction” of the Due Process Clause is the Louisiana statute impermissible. Instead, citizens would have to seek substantive rights protection under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause—a strategy that continues today. These butchers sued Louisiana and argued that the state-sanctioned monopoly infringed on their newly ratified 13th and 14th Amendment rights. When Reconstruction eventually ends, how might this interpretation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the powers of the state and national governments affect African American civil rights in the South?

As Northern Republicans became more conservative, Reconstruction came to symbolize a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society. Writing for the Court, Justice Samuel Miller quickly dismissed the butcher’s claims regarding due process and involuntary servitude. According to the Supreme Court's ruling, what was not the purpose of the 14th Amendment?

Summary of Reconstruction Era and Impact of the Slaughterhouse Cases. By a five-to-four majority, the Court ruled against the other slaughterhouses. Sign up to receive Constitution Weekly, our email roundup of constitutional news and debate, at bit.ly/constitutionweekly, Interactive Constitution: Classroom Edition, Crescent City Livestock Landing & Slaughterhouse Company, Social Media, Election 2020, and Online Speech, Social Media Platforms and the Fight Against Election Disinformation, America’s Contentious Presidential Elections: A History, How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! The Slaughterhouse Cases Regulation, Reconstruction, and the Fourteenth Amendment ... That test centered on a vitriolic dispute among the white butchers of mid-Reconstruction New Orleans. In March 1869, the Louisiana state legislature enacted a law granting a monopoly to the Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughterhouse Company to slaughter animals in the New Orleans area. But the lasting outcome was a limited understanding of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. HOME. Simply asking the framers is not an option. Does Philly, and not Boston, deserve credit as the Tea Party birthplace? How are lawsuits over various voting laws around the country being decided? In the slaughterhouse cases, it seems conceivable that because of the Reconstruction of the United States, and the implementation of these post Civil War Amendments, that the justices who upheld the decision had a very literal interpretation of the Amendments and that it pertained only to black slaves. Instead, the Court argued that the 14th Amendment textually distinguished between citizens of the United States and citizens of the several states, which mattered because the Privileges and Immunities Clause that followed protected the privileges or immunities of national citizenship from interference by state action. Not included, Miller explained, is the right to one’s livelihood or be protected against a monopoly.

This Project focuses on the Slaughterhouse Cases, the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision, and the reaction to the decision from the public. There was conflict between Northerners who wanted to punish Southerners for trying to preserve their way of life. These debates are complicated, in part, because of how long ago these clauses and amendments were drafted. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Slaughterhouse Cases, in American history, legal dispute that resulted in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1873 limiting the protection of the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.