History of Voting in the United States

  • North Carolina Constitution of 1776

    North Carolina Constitution of 1776
    In December of 1776, under the leadership of Speaker Richard Caswell, North Carolina’s Provincial Congress drafted a state constitution to outline the people’s rights and create a government. The Constitution identified the three branches of government, and affirmed the idea of separation of powers. It gave the General Assembly the most power, and declared that it would make laws and appoint state executives as well as judges.
  • Seneca Falls Convention

    Seneca Falls Convention
    The Seneca Falls Convention is considered to be the birthplace of American feminism. It was the first women’s rights convention in the United States, and it was held in Seneca Falls, New York on July 19th and 20th of 1848. At this conference, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, a document that called for women’s equality and suffrage. This document was modeled after the Declaration of Independence, except that she modeled the principles after both men and women.
  • The Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment

    The Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment
    This amendment came after the Civil War. This amendment declared that a person's right to vote could not be denied because of race, color, or the fact that one was previously a slave.
  • Jim Crow Laws

    Jim Crow Laws
    During the 1870’s, over half a million black men became voters in the south. During the Reconstruction, most of the southern states followed the same pattern of electing whites to most state and local offices. Blacks stopped being protected, and white supremacy returned. In 1890, Missisippi created a new state constitution that tried to make it difficult for African-American people to vote. This was done by requiring a poll tax, that was simply impossible to pay for many people.
  • Ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment
    The Seventeenth Amendment was ratified on April 8, 1913. Seventeenth Amendment says that the U.S. Senate will be made up of two senators per state, that are elected by the people. These senators shall serve for six years, and they shall each have one vote. The first direct election of senators was held in 1914. This is significant because it gives people even more say in the government. Since our government is a democracy, this is important.
  • The Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment

    The Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment
    The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920. The Nineteenth Amendment said that men and women had equal voting rights in the United States. Most women throughout the nineteenth century were excluded from voting and were not allowed to hold electoral office. Beginning in 1848, women started to organize a suffrage movement with the goal of being allowed to vote. After this,some states granted voting rights to women, and Montana elected a woman to the House of Representatives in 1916.
  • The Indian Citizenship Act

    The Indian Citizenship Act
    This act gave citizenship to all Native Americans that were born within the country. Before the Civil War, citizenship was limited to people with one-half or less Indian blood. Then, in the Reconstruction Period, Republicans in Congress tried to grant citizenship to friendly tribes. The states did not give much support for these measures, however. In 1888, Native American women that were married to citizens of the United States were granted citizenship.
  • Ratification of the Twenty-Third Amendment

    Ratification of the Twenty-Third Amendment
    The Twenty-Third Amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961. This amendment gave people living in the District of Columbia the right to vote. Since 1800, the government has operated primarily out of this area. By 1960, there were around 750,000 residents. Since this was a federal district, it did not have a governor, and id was not given the right to vote in presidential elections. However the people living there still had all of the responsibilities that a citizenship did.
  • Ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment

    Ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment
    The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1964. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment made it illegal to have a poll tax in any election for a public official. After the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, which made it illegal to discriminate voters based on race, many southern states created laws making it difficult for African Americans to vote. One of these ways was the poll tax. Poll taxes kept poor citizens, of any race, from being able to vote.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    This act was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. The signing of this act followed the march for better voting laws led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Some pictures of marchers being attacked later shocked the nation, leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act outlawed the usage of discriminatory voting practices, like literacy tests, which had been used to restrict voting by African-Americans.
  • The Ratification of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment

    The Ratification of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment
    The Twenty-Sixth Amendment was ratified on July 1, 1971. This Amendment made it illegal for the national and state governments to use age as a reason for denying citizens the right to vote. After the military draft during the Vietnam War, people began to question why men could fight for their country, but they couldn’t vote. This amendment lowered the voting age to eighteen.