History of Voting Rights

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US Constitution Adopted

1787

The US Constitution was originally written by saying slave-states insist that only white males be allowed to vote. Most states limit the vote to white males that own a certain amount of property.

Women's Suffrage Movement

1848

The 1st Women's Rights Convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. It demands that women be granted all rights of full citizenship including the right to vote.

14th Amendment extends citizenship to Blacks

1867

This amendment says that all states are required to recognize Black and white males as citizens. But for the first time women of all races are excluded in the Constitution from full citizenship due to voting.

15th Amendment extends vote to Blacks

1869

The 15th Amendment granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." This amendment does not apply to Native Americans or Asians because they can't be citizens.

Stanton and Anthony write to Congress

1871

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other women's rights leaders address a petition to the Senate and House of Representatives. These women asked Congress to enact a a law giving women in the US the right to vote. They also wanted to speak before both houses of Congress about this.

19th Amendment

1920

The 19th Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Women struggled with the right to vote for 72 years.

Voting Rights Act

1965

On August 6, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This law grew out of both public protest and private political negotiation. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) campaign in Selma, Alabama, with the aim of pressuring Congress to pass such legislation.

26th Amendment lowers voting age to 18

1970

A large protests against the Vietnam war and growing resistance to the military draft, the voting age is lowered to equal the draft age.