Trace the roots of the concept of equal protection from the American Revolution and the formation of the Constitution through its application today using this collection of 177 primary documents from a variety of sources. Students can use this unique reference resource to examine the tension between the concept of equal protection and recognition of slavery in the constitutional order, to explore the devitalization and revitalization of the 14th and 15th Constitutional amendments from the era of Jim Crow through the Civil Rights movement, and to study current court rulings on equal protection of the law. Petitions, laws, court decisions, personal accounts, and a variety of other documents bring to life the experiences of African Americans in the American constitutional order. Five historical periods are explored with particular emphasis on the concept of equal protection of the law and its particular embodiment in the 14th Amendment.These include: the roots of the concept of equal protection in the Anglo-American experience, the lives of African Americans under a Constitution that incorporated equal protection yet recognized slavery, the 14th and 15th Amendments and the development of Jim Crow, 20th-century developments in the application of equal protection to race, and the accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement and developments since that time. The introductory and explanatory text helps readers understand the nature of the conflicts, the issues being litigated, and the social and cultural pressures that shaped each debate. This welcome resource will provide students with the opportunity to understand the various arguments put forth in different debates, encouraging readers to consider all sides when drawing their own conclusions.