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Explain the history of voting rights. How were blacks discriminated against what where some of the methods used to obstruct them from voting - Essay Example

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Property owners were allowed to vote thereby leaving a majority of people without voting rights considering that the majority of occupants in the Americas were not land owners. The…
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Explain the history of voting rights. How were blacks discriminated against what where some of the methods used to obstruct them from voting
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History of Voting Rights Voting rights were limited to White adults as blacks were not allowed to visit polling centers. Property owners were allowed to vote thereby leaving a majority of people without voting rights considering that the majority of occupants in the Americas were not land owners. The end of the Civil War saw voting rights being extended to Whit adults who were not specifically property owners. The year 1866 saw the 14th amendment made on the federal constitution. This opened up avenues for African Americans, women, as well as Native Americans to vote since initially hey were not allowed to vote. The 14th Amendment saw citizenship being granted to American immigrants making them equal with others. The 15th Amendment gave only adult men, both black and white, the right to vote. However, women were still restricted from voting. The same year, 1869, when the 15th Amendment was made witnessed the emergence of Black Codes which were chiefly laws that were restrictive of the freedom of African Americans (Hayduk 77). The right to vote was one of the crucial freedoms that African Americans were deprived and understanding the history of the same is critical.
With women still being restricted from voting, activists on the rights of women that were to be seen in the liberation of the sex were common in the late 1880s. The Seneca Falls Convention that was held in 1848 saw activists contest for the right of women to vote (Hayduk, 47). The 19th Amendment of 1920 was a promise that was meant to see the liberation of women and their eventual right to vote. The breakthrough was witnessed in 1965 with the enactment of the federal Voting Rights Act. Here, Dr. Martin Luther King and other activists aimed at registering voters and eliminate barriers that obstructed the same. Several methods were used by Whites to prevent African Americans from voting. Literacy tests were widely used to sieve African Americans as the same group of people could not access an education.
African Americans failed these tests making them ineligible to vote (Hayduk 53). The use of poll taxes was also extremely effective as Black people were slaves and had no money to pay as fees. This saw many African Americans being left out of the poll as they were with no money. Locations of polls were only known to whites as blacks were kept in the dark regarding were to cast their votes. In most cases, these polling stations were manned by armed guards and were classified making it exceedingly difficult for African Americans to access the same. Black codes also emphasized that African Americans who were interested in voting would be injured. These threats worked perfectly well considering that many African Americans could not show up to cast their votes.
In 1970 Voting Rights Act saw literacy lessons being extended to minority groups. With time, English was well spoken by African Americans reducing the barrier that was set by literacy tests. 1971 witnessed eighteen year olds being granted the right to vote. Ironically, 18 year olds were allowed to join the army, but they could no elect their own leaders. Many attempts to ensure that one man casted one vote has been a journey so long (Hayduk 87). The Motor Voter Law of 1995 was effective as it made the registration of voters easer compared to the years gone. It should be noted that 2003 saw the streamlining of all procedures that were for election purposes. As such, registration of persons for the election process was harmonized to reduce case that limited people from voting.
Works Cited
Hayduk, Ron. Democracy For All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights In te United States. London:
Routledge, 2006. Print Read More
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