15th Turns 150!Breaking News
tags: Reconstruction, citizenship, voting rights, 15th Amendment
March 30, 2020, is the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution (ratified Feb. 3, 1870), which nationally expanded the right to vote to Black men by making it illegal to prevent people from voting based on their “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The Amendment did not pass without a struggle.
And in 1868, citizenship didn’t automatically mean the right to vote, yet the presence of new citizens in the form of formerly enslaved people forced Congress to consider what citizenship and voting actually meant.
Congress encountered several historical problems. First, the right to vote was long thought to have been a privilege, and not an essential element of citizenship. Second, voting rights had been the purview of states, not the Federal government. Based on these understandings, conservative white southerners unleashed an assault on black voting that ranged from bribery to political intimidation to outright violence.
comments powered by Disqus
- Boston Refused to Close Schools During the 1918 Flu. Then Children Began to Die
- Trump Won’t Win by Doubling-Down on his Racist Appeals but the Right’s Open Bigotry Comes at a Cost
- What to Stream: A Blazing Interview with Orson Welles By Richard Brody
- Trump’s Attack on the Postal Service Is a Threat to Democracy—and to Rural America
- Kamala Harris and the Growing Political Power of Black Women