The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution hasn’t received the same attention as other historic documents, but it’s currently taking center stage as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether it will bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot in Colorado. The ruling on this case could have significant implications for the 2024 presidential election. The original 14th Amendment is now preserved in a research room at the National Archives, where archivists have carefully maintained the parchment that contains the historic words written in iron gall ink.
The search for the 14th Amendment took the author to the National Archives, where she was guided by a senior conservator, Morgan Browning. The amendment, written on parchment made from animal skin, is carefully preserved due to its sensitivity to light and humidity. The Supreme Court’s looming decision added an extra layer of significance to the experience of viewing and learning about this historic document. The intricate details and preservation methods of the 14th Amendment add a captivating dimension to the ongoing debate about its implications for the upcoming election.
The thickness of the parchment and the curling edges of the 14th Amendment, along with the unique ink crafted from a combination of natural components, highlight the enduring nature of the piece of history. The meticulous care and conservation measures by the archivists, combined with the impending Supreme Court case, add a layer of thrill and significance to the experience of studying this iconic document at the National Archives.