chapter  XII
XII Promises Betrayed
Pages 19

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments on paper altered the federal system of government of the United States. Previously, except for its provisions relating to contract rights, bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws, the Constitution had allowed the states almost unlimited power over the rights and liberties of their citizens. Freedom of speech, press, and religion, the right to counsel and jury trial, and the privilege against self-incrimination and double jeopardy were not binding on the state governments. The whole body of rights and liberties guaranteed by the federal Bill of Rights protected citizens only against the federal government. For protection against state power, citizens had to look to the guarantees of their own state constitutions. This had been settled constitutional law since the Marshall Court held in Barron v. Baltimore (1833) that the guarantees of the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states. What the states did with respect to civil rights and liberties was between them and their citizens.