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The Fifteenth Amendment - Essay Example

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Summary
The Fifteenth Amendment The Fifteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution is centered on the ability for every citizen of the United States to vote regardless of their gender, nationality, race, or religion. When this amendment was first executed in 1870, every government in the United States was prohibited from denying an individual the right to vote based on race, skin color, and previous status of slavery…
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The Fifteenth Amendment
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The Fifteenth Amendment

Download file to see previous pages... Before the Fifteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, inequality ran rampant throughout America. Not only were African Americans treated unfairly and denied the same rights as white people, but the majority of them were also kept as slaves. Though African Americans were being oppressed, there were politicians, civilians, and even some slave owners that were against the unethical treatment of African Americans that came about simply due to the color of their skin. To people who supported slavery, they believed that unless you were white, you were considered less than a human being and, therefore, were not entitled to the rights of American citizens. This helped to prompt the American Civil War in 1861. While there were many factors that incited the American Civil War, such as economic and social differences between the North and the South and states versus federal rights, the war was primarily “instigated by the continuous debates over the rights and freedoms of African Americans and slaves” (Richards 58). After the Louisiana Purchase and America began to expand, there was controversy as to whether or not the new states should allow slavery. Many of the southern states that approved of slavery forced their beliefs on these new states, arguing that since the other states allowed slavery, the new states should be made to follow the same laws. Furthermore, the more that the southern states pushed for legalized slavery, the more that the northern states opposed slavery not just in the new states, but in all states. The final straw was when Abraham Lincoln, “a man who was an outspoken proponent for abolishing slavery” (Fletcher 104), was elected as President of the United States in 1860. Toward the end of the American Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was passed. This amendment, approved of in 1864, completely abolished slavery. This may have seemed like a good start in fully liberating African Americans and those trapped in the yokes of slavery, but it posed new problems in the world of politics. It became the belief that if the African Americans and former slaves were not treated like proper citizens of America than they would rebel against their former owners and those that aided in and encouraged their oppression (Keyssar 118) . To prevent this from occurring, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, which provided United States citizenship for African Americans and those slaves that had been freed. These aforementioned amendments, also known as the Reconstruction Amendments, were nothing less than peace offerings to the African American population. However, the Republicans realized that they could be even more appealing to the African Americans and former slaves if they offered them to opportunity to vote. As such, the Fifteenth Amendment, which would provide people who were not white the opportunity to vote, was proposed. The road to approving this amendment was not an easy one, but the men who were in charge, the Radical Republicans who believed fully in the freedom and rights of all men, were not easily swayed by the opposition. Fortunately, they had more in favor for the Fifteenth Amendment than those who were against it. Aside from the Radical Repub ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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