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Bone_torch.gifSusan M. Bone_torch.gif
Which amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures all citizens the right to vote regardlessof race or color or previous condition of servitude?
The 15th amendment
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The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) is one of the Amendments passed after the Civil War. This amendment prohibits the states or the federal government from using a citizen's race, color, or previous status as a slave as a voting qualification. Its basic purpose was to enfranchise former slaves. The first person to vote under the provisions of the amendment was Thomas Mundy Peterson who cast his ballot in a Perth Amboy school board election being held on February 4, 1870, the day after the fifteenth amendment was ratified. But it was not really until the Voting Rights Act in 1965, almost a century later, that the full promise of the fifteenth amendment was actually achieved in all states.
After the passage on a per capita and absolute basis, more blacks were elected to political office during the period from 1865 to 1880 than at any other time in American history. Although no state elected a black governor during Reconstruction, a number of state legislatures were effectively under the control of a substantial African American caucus. These legislatures brought in programs that are considered part of government's duty now, but at the time were radical, such as universal public education. They also set aside all racially biased laws, even those prohibiting interracial marriage.
Despite the efforts of groups like the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate black voters and white Republicans, assurance of federal support for democratically elected southern governments meant that most Republican voters could both vote and rule in confidence. For example, when an all-white mob attempted to take over the interracial government of New Orleans, President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops to restore the elected mayor.
However, after the close election of Rutherford B. Hayes, Hayes, in order to mollify the South, agreed to withdraw federal troops. He also overlooked poll violence in the deep south, despite several attempts by the Republicans to pass laws assuring the rights of black voters and to punish intimidation. To show the unwillingness of Congress to take any action at this time, even a bill that would have required incidents of violence only at polling places to be publicized failed to be passed. Without the restrictions, voting place violence against blacks and Republicans increased, including instances of murder. Most of this was done without any interference by law enforcement, and often even with their co-operation.
By the 1890s, many southern states had rigorous voter qualification laws, including literacy tests and poll taxes. Some states even made it difficult to find a place to register to vote. Most instrumental was the passage of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, which prohibited poll taxes.
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This picture shows black slaves working
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A Image of the U.S. Constitution
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This shows a group of Slaves.
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