The Right To Vote: 1778-1890

1887 / 1890

The Dawes Act & Indian Naturalization Act

The 1887 Dawes Act grants citizenship to Native-Americans who renounce their tribal affiliations - centuries old ancestral identities. The 1890 Indian Naturalization Act grants citizenship to Native-Americans in the Indian Territory. This Act allows Native-Americans to maintain dual citizenship by maintaining tribal citizenship.

1882

Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 denies people of Chinese ancestry naturalized citizenship, and therefore the right to vote. States with large Chinese immigrant populations fear the power of a Chinese voting bloc and incite popular sentiment against naturalization.

1877

White Supremacist Violence and Intimidation Escalates

The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations intensify their campaign of violence and intimidation against Black citizens. State laws, such as Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests and Grandfather Clauses radically suppress the Black vote.

1877

Hayes-Tilden Compromise

The "Compromise of 1877" effectively ends Reconstruction. In a "backroom" deal after the contentious and close 1876 election, Republicans agree to pull federal troops out of the South and stop enforcing the 15th Amendment.

1876

Native Americans and Mexican Americans Cannot Vote

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Native-Americans are not citizens under the 14th Amendment and cannot vote. Mexican-Americans in the territories of Arizona and New Mexico are also not citizens and cannot vote.

1872

Women Test "Gender Neutral" 15th Amendment

Susan B. Anthony is arrested while attempting to vote in a presidential election in Rochester, NY. Sojourner Truth, a former black slave, unsuccessfully attempts to vote in the same election in Battle Creek, MI.

1870

Fifteenth Amendment

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified, prohibiting denial or abridgment of a citizen's right to vote based on "race, color or previous condition of servitude." 700,000 African-Americans are immediately enfranchised in the Southern states, creating panic and fear among European-Americans.

1868

Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified. Its Citizenship Clause grants national and state citizenship to "All persons born or naturalized in the States," including former slaves. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 is thereby nullified.

1867

Reconstruction Begins

Reconstruction era acts are implemented throughout the former Confederacy. During Federal military rule and under Federal protection (1867-1877) hundreds of thousands of black freedmen and some poor white males are registered to vote.

1865

Civil War Ends

1865: Civil War ends and Southern states enact restrictive and violent "Black Codes" in order to ensure that white domination continues. 1866: Susan B. Anthony and Candy Stanton form the American Equal Rights Association.

1848

Treaty of Guadalupe

The Treaty of Guadalupe ends the Mexican-American War. The Republic of Mexico cedes 525,000 square miles of land to the U.S. Government. Mexicans living in the conquered territories are granted citizenship, but voting rights are obstructed by states' suppression tactics and violence.

1790

First Naturalization Law

The first Naturalization Law passes. It limits "citizenship" to "free white immigrants who have been in the country for a minimum of two years. Native Americans are not deemed "citizens" of the U.S. and cannot vote.

1787

Who Can Vote

The Constitutional Convention is not able to decide on a national voting rights standard and leaves it up to the states to decide who can vote. Most states restrict voting rights to white-male-Protestant landowners.

1887 / 1890

1882

1877

1877

1876

1872

1870

1868

1867

1865

1848

1790

1787

WE THE PEOPLE

"We The People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquiity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

VOTE MIDTERM 2018

YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

Presidential elections generally motivate far more eligible voters to turn out than do Midterm elections. However, Midterm election cycles are often as important, if not more so, than Presidential election cycles.
In Midterm election cycles, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 33-35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for election. In addition, numerous Governors and Mayors will be elected, as well as various state and local legislators, judges, DA's and other officials. Ballot initiatives that affect the taxes, laws and local and state budgets (funding priorities) will also be voted up or down.
Every person that is elected to a local, state or federal office, as well as many of their subsequent appointees or nominees, has the power to impact every aspect of your life and your family's and community's daily lives for years and decades to come.

NOTABLE QUOTES

"…The true way to abolish slavery is to vote such men into power who will exert their moral and political influence for the abolition of slavery."
_-Frederick Douglass _

"I am glad that men are getting their rights, but I want women to get theirs, and while the water is stirring I will step into the pool… I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring. Because if we wait till it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again."
-Sojourner Truth, Comments after passage of the 15th Amendment

"We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million women are denied the right to vote."
_-Alice Paul, Suffragist _

"So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I cannot possess myself. I cannot make up my mind—it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen…"
_-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. _

"Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on the battlefield."
_-President Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks on the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act _

"I say from time to time that the vote is precious. It's almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument that we have in a democratic society. And we must use it."
_-John Lewis _

"Democracy thrives when it (the right to vote) is practiced, and it suffers when practice is prevented."
_-John Payton, Former President/Counsel General NAACP LDF _

"There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, and that is to discourage persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens… (states’ voter ID laws are) a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention… a mere fig leaf to disenfranchise voters."
_-Judge Richard A. Posner, U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals _

"Voting, a fundamental right, should be made easier - not harder... When barriers hinder a population's ability to express its views, the complex system of checks and balances that the framers of our nation put in place to safeguard democracy will fail in their duty."
_-David Goodman, Brother of Andrew Goodman and President of The Andrew Goodman Foundation _

"Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella because you are not getting wet."
_-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, In Dissent: Shelby v. Holder (2013) _

"There is no Constitutional issue here. There is no moral issue. It is wrong, deadly wrong, to deny any of your fellow citizens the right to vote. There is no issue of States’ rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights."
-President Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks on the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act

MESSAGE

A FutherShore

“A truly informed populace sees and feels the living presence of the past, inherits the resolve and courage to confront; the wisdom and capacity to reconcile; and the 'fierce urgency' to re-imagine." -G.Moore

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