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The 15th Amendment

Voting Rights for Black Men

The 15th Amendment was about giving black men the right to vote, seeing as it stated that the United States cannot deny the vote based on race, color, or whether one had been a slave or not. The 15th Amendment was the beginning of a step out of class struggle, and into radical social equality when it granted black men the right to vote. The government could not be allowed to vote based on race, color, or “previous condition of servitude.” The Southern states, however, used intimidation tactics such as a poll tax, literacy tests and more to scare black voters out of casting their vote. Black men, many of whom had been slaves, were ruled to have the right to vote, because, by 1869, amendments were passed to abolish slavery as Republicans of the time felt that it was crucial to the survival of their party to be against slavery.

The 15th Amendment was officially ratified on March 30th, 1870, and made a part of the Constitution. But ever so quietly, in 1890 to 1910 Southern States imposed a voting tax, as well as literacy tests that were designed to impinge on the right an African American male has to vote. By the time of the 20th century though, the 24th Amendment arose to prevent poll taxes as a barrier for voting. The 15th Amendment had been designed to safeguard the voting rights of former slaves in any state that formed in the United States at the time.

The first black man to vote in the United States was Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, under the temporary truce of the 15th Amendment. In the late 1870s, the Southern states repealed the 14th Amendment, which had been passed in 1868, and they started seriously engaging in violent and discriminatory practices such as intimidation and violence. This finally changed in 1965 when all legal barriers denied African Americans the right to vote, under the 15th Amendment, and that had banned the use of literacy tests despite the fact that 50 percent of the non-white population had not registered to vote.

Congress was seen as having difficulty enacting the laws that arose from the Civil Rights Act of 1866. President Andrew Johnson decided to sway Republicans in Congress to vote about black suffrage. Black people in this period had some legal rights as freed slaves, but economically they were oppressed in their social class with little help for achievement. But be that as it may, ethnic Chinese were banned from voting in this period. Voter restriction, however, was banned by the 15th Amendment. The votes were cast as follows: the vote in the House was 144 to 44 with 35 not voting. 3 Republicans voted against the bill. The final vote in the Senate had been 39 to 13 with 14 declining. The women’s suffrage movement was aligned with the abolitionist movement. These movements took an unpopular stance, which made waves because of their intensive activism. The first 28 states that had ratified the 15th Amendment were Nevada, West Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts, Arkansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, who ratified on April 14th, 1869, rescinded ratification on January 5th, 1870, and re-ratified it on March 30th, 1870. Other states included Indiana, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Ohio.

More states that were to ratify the 15th Amendment included Georgia and Iowa. Other states to ratify this Amendment included Nebraska and Texas, in 1870 respectively. The last 7 states to ratify this Amendment included New Jersey on February 15th, 1871, after a rejection of the Amendment on March 17th/18th, 1870. Delaware had the 15th Amendment ratified on February 12th, 1901, after initial rejection on October 26th, 1870. Oregon then ratified this Amendment on February 12th, 1959, after rejecting it on January 28th, 1870. California had then followed suit by ratifying the 15th Amendment on April 3rd, 1962, after a rejection that occurred on January 28th, 1870, leaving Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Maryland ratified the 15th Amendment when May 7th, 1973 rolled around, but had rejected it precisely 100 years ago on February 4th and the 26th in 1870. Kentucky on March 18th, 1976, was the ratification date for the 15th Amendment, having been previously rejected on March 11th, and 12th, 1869. And finally, Tennessee had ratified the 15th Amendment on April 8th, 1997, having previously rejected the Amendment on November 16th, 1869.

The cure to all this oppression is mostly to just let people exercise their right to vote. Hating somebody because of skin color is ridiculous. It took from 1870-1965 to actually ensure the rights of an entire group of people. What white people need to understand is that it is not a crime to be a person of color or to be different. Everybody has the right to citizenship in the United States regardless of where they came from. It is silly to deny one group of people voting rights or any kind of Constitutional right. We have evolved as a country but need to continue evolving. The country has a lot of work yet to be done to improve things for non-whites as they are now in the majority. White people do dominate many aspects of American life. It is up to us to learn how to live together without violence.

Works Cited

History.com

Cornell Law

Wikipedia

Guides.loc.gov

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