When the proposed Fourteenth Amendment was submitted to the legislatures of the several States, it needed to have ratification by twenty-eight States, being three-fourths of the thirty-seven States. While it was ratified rather promptly by most of the States outside the South, it was never ratified by California and it was rejected by the three border states of Kentucky, Delaware and Maryland.26 It was also rejected, during the latter part of 1866 and the early part of 1867, by the legislatures of the ten Southern States,27 including Louisiana, whose Senators and Representatives had been excluded from seats in Congress.
This created a situation which made impossible the ratification of the Amendment unless some of these rejections were sufficient to prevent the adoption of the amendment proposal. The thirteen rejections, by the ten Southern States and three border States, were more than sufficient to block ratification even if all other States finally ratified.
The Louisiana legislature, which rejected the Fourteenth Amendment early in 1867, had been elected under the Louisiana Constitution of 1864, and functioned under this Constitution. It should be remembered that this Constitution was not a product of the Confederacy, or of a reorganization of the State government by former Confederates after cessation of hostilities. The Louisiana Constitution of 1864 was adopted28 by a convention held in New Orleans under the auspices of the Federal authorities, acting largely on suggestions and directions from President Lincoln. It was clearly a re-establishment and continuation of the Louisiana state government as it had existed before secession.
The rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment by this Louisiana Legislature is embodied in Act 4 of 1867, a Joint Resolution adopted by both Houses declaring
“That the State of Louisiana refuses to accede to the amendment of the Constitution of the United States proposed as Article (XIV) Fourteen.”
This is the only action ever taken on the Fourteenth Amendment by a Louisiana Legislature exercising free and unfettered and uncoerced judgment and discretion as between ratification or rejection of the amendment proposal. The subsequent purported ratification of this Amendment in Louisiana was be a legislature of a puppet government, created by the radical majority of Congress to do the bidding of its master, and compelled to ratify this Amendment by the Federal Statute which had brought this puppet government into existence for this specific purpose.
It is most interesting to read the proceedings of the Louisiana House of Representatives on February 6, 1867,29 whereby that body adopted the Joint Resolution ordaining the refusal of Louisiana to ratify the proposed Fourteenth Amendment—the Joint Resolution which became Act 4 of 1867. This Journal shows, by the roll call, that one hundred members voted out of a total House membership of one hundred and ten—and that the unanimous vote was one hundred against ratification and none in favor of it. This was the last opportunity for a free and uncoerced expression of views on this amendment proposal by the duly elected representatives of the people of Louisiana.