This outstanding limited series is an upbeat, creative, and informative civics lesson about one of the most reinterpreted Constitutional amendments in U.S. history. It introduces the fact that the U.S. Constitution is a document of ideals, and because of this, fails to concretely define what being a U.S. citizen means. It examines the amendment itself, which guarantees citizenship to those born and naturalized in the U.S., and due process and equal protections under federal law. Each installment illustrates how, after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, the constitutional ambiguities about citizenship, and the Amendment's failure to specifically address discrimination, has had far-reaching implications. Those include controversial state legislation, the massive efforts to pass federal laws like the Civil Right's Act of 1964 and the failed Equal Rights Amendment, and Supreme Court cases that continue to identify and redefine the rights of oppressed people within the United States.
While decidedly left-leaning, Amend does a good job of presenting constitutional history, and illustrates how the United States has adapted, and resisted, the provisions of the 14th Amendment for over a century. It discusses contemporary issues -- including systematic racism, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, immigration, and the treatment of non-citizens -- through this lens. This creates the space to effectively showcase the country's on-going negotiation of who the 14th Amendment was intended to protect in multiple ways. To its credit, the series also highlights the unique complexities that have become part of this negotiation, especially for individuals who hold two or more oppressed identities (such as Black transgender women). Overall, Amend: The Fight For America isn't just about the 14th Amendment, but about the fact that the fight for progress isn't easy, but must continue in order to protect American democracy.