Brandon CarpenterMr. McKownGovernment05 December 17Suffrage From Four Amendments    What is the most important amendment? There are numerous amendments that have all been very useful. Some amendments that are very helpful are the fifteenth, nineteenth, twenty-fourth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. The Fifteenth Amendment has been helping African American men since 1870. This amendment was the beginning to spreading African Americans rights. Another amendment that has helped make women equal to men is the Nineteenth Amendment. This amendment was fought for by women for several decades. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was an amendment that helped not only African American men and women, but also helped all the lower class members who could not vote because of a fee that they could not afford. This amendment got rid of an unconstitutional fee known as the poll taxes. These poll taxes were unconstitutional because they were limiting some American’s rights to vote. The last amendment that I am going to be talking about is the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment granted eighteen to twenty year olds a right that they have deserved for a while. These ages were being sent to war but they did not have the right to vote. This made eighteen to twenty year olds old enough to fight, but not old enough to vote.The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified on February 3, 1870, but it wasn’t until 1965 that most African Americans could vote ( This was because southern states disfranchised African Americans. Southern states disfranchised African Americans by using poll taxes and literacy tests. Poll taxes often included a grandfather clause, which allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in a specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax ( Otherwise voters had to pay the poll tax of $1.50 or you could not vote.The Fifteenth Amendment  states ” Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation”( This amendment was sent to the states to approve or reject on February 26, 1869 ( The Fifteenth Amendment was formally part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870. Ohio ratified the Fifteenth Amendment in January 1870 when we previously rejected it ( The Fifteenth Amendment granted all African American  men the right to participate in government. African American men could participate as voters and officer voters because of the Fifteenth Amendment and the reconstruction acts. Even with the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, African Americans were still not politically equal. This was due to many setbacks and resistance. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and state restrictions reduced the percentage of African American voters until the mid twentieth century when we had a second reconstruction ( Although there were all these drawbacks, the Fifteenth Amendment was a great place to start.The Nineteenth Amendment was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920. It took decades of protesting and agitation before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. Beginning in 1848, the movement for women’s rights began to organize at the national level ( The Fifteenth Amendment gave African American men the right to vote but failed to give women of any skin color the same right. Activists formed organizations to raise public awareness to grant women the right to vote ( Ways to bring attention to the cause women began with parades, pickets, and marches ( Women began to regularly picket the White House, along with other militant tactics ( For doing some of these actions, some women were arrested and had to do jail time ( Nineteenth Amendment states that “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” ( When proposed to the House of Representatives passed 304-89, which is forty-two votes above the two-thirds majority ( When sent to the Senate, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed 56-25 which is only two votes above the two-thirds majority ( In March 1920, thirty-five states approved of the amendment but needed thirty-six states to approve for three-fourths majority ( Tennessee was the thirty-sixth state to approve the Nineteenth Amendment. Tennessee’s state legislatures voted 49-48 to pass the amendment ( 1920, eight million women were able to vote for the first time in the elections. The remaining twelve states did not ratify the amendment for over sixty years. The last state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment was Mississippi. It was not until March 22, 1984 that Mississippi finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment ( There were five states that enforced poll taxes by the time of the ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment. These five states were Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi ( Although at this time there were only five states, there were many states, mostly the South, that enforced poll taxes right when the Fifteenth Amendment was passed. These poll taxes charged taxes to specific races who these states did not want to participate in voting. If an individual who was required to pay a poll tax could not pay the poll tax, they were unable to vote.     The Twenty-Fourth Amendment states “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” ( This amendment was proposed on August 27th, 1962 but not passed until January 23rd, 1964 ( The House of Representatives passed the Twenty-Fourth Amendment with a 296 to 86 vote.    After the Twenty-Fourth Amendment was passed, more citizens were able to vote ( This was because the Twenty-Fourth Amendment eliminated poll taxes. When poll taxes were eliminated, everyone could vote without being taxed which increased the number of voters because if the poll tax was unable to be paid, you could not vote ( So when this amendment passed, everyone including the lower class could vote freely. After the Twenty-Fourth Amendment was passed, poll taxes were deemed unconstitutional ( Before the Twenty-Sixth Amendment the minimum voting age was twenty one instead of eighteen. During WWII, the military draft age was reduced to eighteen from twenty-one ( This made ages eighteen to twenty old enough to fight in wars but not old enough to vote. During the Vietnam War, youth voting rights activists held marches to draw lawmakers’ attention to the hypocrisy of drafting men and women who lacked the right to vote ( In 1970, Congress passed a bill amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ( When amended, the voting age was lowered to eighteen. The Supreme Court had to review this and the Court was divided, four justices believed Congress did have the right to do this and the other four believed that only the states could set voter qualifications ( Amendment Twenty-Six states “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” ( On March 10, 1971, the Senate passed the Twenty-Sixth Amendment ( The House of Representatives voted on the amendment on March 23, 1971. When the House of Representatives voted on the amendment, they passed it with an overwhelming vote in favor. After the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed by the House of Representatives, the amendment was sent to the states for the amendment to be ratified. This amendment was ratified after the necessary three-fourths state legislatures approved of the amendment on July 1, 1971 ( Although they tried so hard to get voting rights, most of the eighteen to twenty year olds did not vote. When they could  vote, 55.4 percent voted in for their first time in 1972 ( This percentage decreased steadily after their first time voting all the way down to 36 percent in the 1988 presidential election ( Thinking that most would vote when the ability was given to them, most did not, leaving a higher percentage of older voters voting than younger voters ( But with the passing of this amendment made it that if you are old enough to fight, you are old enough to vote.The Fifteenth Amendment allowed African American men to vote. I feel like the African American men deserved the right to vote because all men are created equally so we should not deny a right from someone just because of their race. The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote after women fought for this right for decades. I feel like the Nineteenth Amendment was important because women are just as important as men because everyone is created equally. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment allowed everyone to vote freely without having to pay a tax that denied the right of voting for all of the lower classes, not based on sex or race. I think that poll taxes were a dumb idea in the first place because you don’t really even have the right to vote if you have to pay a tax to vote which can also be denying the right to vote for some Americans. Finally, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment which lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. This amendment was necessary because if eighteen year olds are old enough to fight and possibly die for our country, then they should have the right to vote in the country that they fight for. Although all of these amendments are important, I feel like none of them are more important than the others.Works Cited “15th Amendment Site.”,”24th Amendment – constitution | Laws.Com.” Constitution, A+E Networks. “19th Amendment.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010, A+E Networks. “The 26th Amendment.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,”How Did the Elimination of the Poll Tax Affect the Elections?” Synonym,


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