Government Section 7.1

Describe the four amendments that have provided for extensions of suffrage (voting rights) to disenfranchised groups.


The Fifteenth Amendment

The Fifteenth Amendment allowed African American citizens to vote in local, state, and federal elections.

This Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1870, shortly after the Civil War.

The Fifteenth Amendment stated that no citizen be denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

This was the first amendment to dictate who the states had to let vote.


The Nineteenth Amendment

In 1914, after many protests, vigils, hunger protests, and unlawfully registering to vote, women had won the right to vote in eleven states.

Women's suffrage movements continued to gain momentum all throughout the early 1900's, including Woodrow Wilson's announcement of support in 1918.

After World War I, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, and gave women citizens the right to participate in local, state, and federal elections along with their male counterparts.


The Twenty Fourth Amendment

The poll tax was a massive problem for poorer citizens of the United States. Usually a few dollars, citizens had to pay the poll tax to vote.

In 1964, the Twenty Fourth Amendment stated that poll taxes were banned from federal elections.

It wasn't until 1966 that the use of the poll tax was declared unconstitutional at any level of election from the Supreme Court decision of Harper v. Virginia Board of Education.


The Twenty Sixth Amendment

During the Vietnam war in the 1960's, there were many youth who opposed the war itself and had a passion to get involved in politics.

A movement started to lower the voting age to 18, based on the fact that if 18 year olds could be drafted, they should be able to vote.

The Twenty Sixth Amendment was ratified in 1971.

More than 10 million American citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 exercised their right to vote for the first time in 1972.

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