Degree Name



Political Science


Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Ray Christensen

First Faculty Reader

Dr. Christopher Krewson

Honors Coordinator

Dr. Darin Self


US Constitutional Law, Originalism, Ninth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Privileges and Immunities, Unenumerated Rights


This research aims to determine what the author believes is the original intent of the Ninth Amendment and the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The author plans to do this through a variation of original intent originalism, the philosophy that the original meaning of the text should be what the framers (and secondarily the ratifiers) said the text means. The author believes that original intent originalism is the correct method to interpret the Constitution. This thesis will begin with a defense of this philosophy. Then the author will use this philosophy to determine the original intent of these two sections of the Constitution. The purpose of such research is to determine whether 1) there are indeed unenumerated rights, and 2) if so, which unenumerated rights are protected under these two sections of the Constitution. After outlining the analysis, the author concludes that there are indeed unenumerated rights that are protected in the Constitution in these two sections. The original intent and interpretation of the Ninth Amendment was that it would protect rights--including those not explicitly written in the Constitution--that were commonly considered to be rights by the general public at the time when the Constitution was written and ratified. The original intent of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was to 1) protect certain unenumerated rights, and 2) apply the Bill of Rights to the actions of individual state governments as well as to the federal government.