Unit 3 - Lesson 20

Unit Three Lesson 20
How has the Right to Vote been
expanded since the adoption of the
Bill of Rights Practice
3 categories
• (3) - powers against abuse of government power
• (5) – legal rights
• (2) – rights reserved
(put in the correct category and order)
Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Against Quartering Troops
Against Unreasonable Search & Seizure
Bear Arms
Civil Trail
Due Process
Fair Trial
Free Expression
Reserved to the People
Reserved to the States
Why is the “Franchise” (vote) important
in the American Constitutional System?
• Franchise – the right to vote
• Enfranchisement – the act of giving the right to vote to a person or
group of people
Representative government relies on a vote to select representatives and a
vote by those representatives on laws and policies
WHO votes is HUGELY important in who wins elections and thus has the
power to make policy decisions
Citizens with an economic stake in a community have always been
considered worthy of exercising the franchise of voting (greek & roman)
Colonists shared this view: Voting was a privilege limited to Protestant
men who own land
Because land was cheap, in America many more were able to qualify to
vote (far more generous that countries in Europe)
Yet, whole classes of people were excluded from voting, from participating
in their government
How was suffrage determined when
the Constitution was adopted?
• The Constitutional Convention could not agree on uniform rules for voting.
Thus only the House of Representatives were directly elected
• States would determine who could vote. Many early battles were waged.
• New Jersey is an example:
▫ In 1776 – All inhabitants who owned land could vote (men, women, African
Americans, etc)
 Married women could not vote because land ownership was held by the husband
 African Americans who were free could vote because they could own land
▫ 1807 – Women disenfranchised – lost the right to vote
▫ 1844 – African American men were disenfranchised
How did voting rights expand for
white men?
• In the early1800’s, America became more democratic and less aristocratic
▫ Adams believed that anarchy and mob rule would erupt if men with no property could vote
▫ James Fennimore Cooper wrote, “Every man who has wants, feeling affections and character
has a stake in society.”
• Some states held on to their requirement of land ownership up to 1850’s
• Others dropped the land ownership requirement
▫ Ohio stopped requiring land ownership in 1802 to attract settlers
▫ Other “western” states followed suit
• Most voting reforms were accomplished peacefully
▫ By 1840, all states except Rhode Island has universal suffrage for white males
▫ Thomas Dorr called a “Peoples Convention” to try to rewrite the RI constitution and change the
voting laws. It was a small rebellion but led to a brief war
▫ Dorr fled RI, was arrested and imprisoned when he returned
▫ RI did eventually adopt universal suffrage for white and black men, but not until the 1880’s
• The Treaty of Guadalupe (which ended the Mexican American war) enfranchised all
Mexican men who stayed in now-US territory
▫ States resisted giving these men the right to vote
▫ Violence, fraud and discrimination forced many to leave their lands and return to Mexico
▫ When Texas became a state, Mexican men tried to vote and faced beatings or worse
How did African American men win –
then lose – the right to vote?
• 15th Amendment (1870) granted the right to vote to African
▫ Most states in the South (and some in North) found ways to deny that
 Literacy Tests and Poll Taxes
 Literacy Tests required proving the voter could read and write to qualify to vote
 Poll Taxes required voter to pay a fee to vote
 Grandfather Clause
 Could only vote if their grandfathers had been eligible to vote
 Intimidation and Force
 Voter or their families would face physical attack if they dared to try to vote
 Economic Reprisal
 Limited or eliminated their source of income if they dared to try to vote
▫ By 1910 – less than 2% of African American men voted in the South
▫ It is not until 1965 – when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is passed that
the government uses its power to enforce the right to vote for African
How was suffrage extended to women?
• The right to vote for women was closely linked to the fight for freedom and
equality of African Americans
• Many abolitionists worked for womens’ right to vote as many women
worked for the rights of African Americans (to end slavery)
▫ Frederick Douglas took part in the Seneca Falls Conference
▫ Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s declaration “We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men and women are created equal”
• Those who supported womens’ suffrage believed it was necessary to bring
about other civil rights
▫ Many tried to get women added to the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the right to
vote to all African American men
▫ Some feared including women would set back the fight for equality for freed
How was suffrage extended to women?
• In 1872, Susan B. Anthony went to the polls, insisting to vote, using the 14th
Amendment’s “All persons . . . Equal protection of the law”
▫ They argued that women, as citizens, could not be denied access to the ballot
▫ In Minor v. Happersett (1875), the Supreme Court ruled just because
someone was a citizen, it did not guarantee the right to vote. States could
continue to deny the vote to women. That citizenship and voting were not
necessarily related
• 1869 –Wyoming granted women suffrage rights to gain statehood. Many
western states followed. Eastern states would eventually begin to follow.
By 1918, more than ½ the states allowed women the right to vote
• WWI – Women entered the workforce to replace men at war while the US
fought to defend democracy. Suffragists were worried at the slow pace of
the state-by-state method. They pressured Congress and President Wilson,
who finally withdrew his objections
• The 19th Amendment passed (after very loud and obvious demonstrations)
forbidding states and federal governments from denying or abridging the
right of citizens to vote on the basis of sex. It ratified within a year
Native American Voting Rights
• The Constitution mentions Native Americans twice
▫ Article I: Indians are not counted in apportionment for taxing or representation
▫ Article I: Empowers Congress to regulate commerce with Indian tribes
• This recognized that the Framers did not consider Native Americans to be
citizens of the US. They are a distinct political entity, separate from the state
or federal governments.
• The federal government viewed them as enemies or problematic children
• The 14th Amendment DID NOT change anything. It was only for people
who under the jurisdiction of the federal government
• 1887 – Dawes Act – Citizenship was extended to Native Americans who would
give up their tribal affiliation (to undermine tribal culture)
• 1890 – Indian Naturalization Act extended citizenship to Native Americans
• 1924 – Indian Citizenship Act extended the right to vote to Native Americans
▫ Many states slow to comply. Many barriers to voting continued to exist
• 24th Amendment prohibited states from denying or abridging the right of any
citizen to vote for failure to pay a poll tax
• Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed discrimination against all minorities by
banning all other tests (literacy or fluency). It authorized the federal government to
take over registration and elections if states interfere with citizen rights to vote
How did 18 year olds win the right to vote?
• In 1971, only 4 states allowed 18 year olds to vote
• Widespread protests about the Vietnam War and the draft led to change
• The Voting Rights Act was amended to state no one age 18 or older could
be denied the right to vote on the grounds of age.
▫ Oregon v. Mitchell (1970) The Supreme Court upheld that Congress could
regulate the voting age in national elections but not state elections
▫ In response to a ruling they disagreed with, Congress sent the 26th Amendment
to the states to lower the voting age in all elections to 18.
▫ Voting rights could not be denied or abridged to any citizen age 18 or older
1) How have states differed in expanding the franchise
(voting rights)?
2) What reasoning supported tying the right to vote to
property ownership? Is that reasoning still valid
today? Why or Why not?
3) What processes did women use to obtain the right
to vote? What factors explain why it took women
more than three generations or secure the
4) People between the ages of 18 and 25 vote less often
than any other age group? Why do you think this is
Lesson 15
Amending the Constitution
Arguments for/against including the Bill of Rights in the Constitution
Judicial Review
Amendments that have made America more democratic
Lesson 16
Development of political parties
Role of political parties
Today’s political parties (factions or collaborations)
America’s 2 party system – does it promote or block constitutional principles
Lesson 17
Dred Scot
Right of secession: South’s views vs. Lincoln’s views
Expansion of presidential powers during the Civil War
The Emancipation Proclamation: on what constitutional grounds
13th, 14th, & 15th Amendments
Lesson 18
Procedural/Substantive Due Process
Adversarial v. Inquisitorial System of justice
Process of selective incorporation
Bill of Rights: Did it validate the fears of the Antifederalists’ fear of the power of a strong national judiciary
Lesson 19
Separate but Equal
Brown v. Board of Education: how did it overturn Plessy v. Ferguson
Equal Protection (14th Amendment)
How states have expanded suffrage (right to vote)
Voting: FOR/AGAINST tying voting to land ownership
Womens’ Right to Vote: Why did it take 3 generations to achieve
18 year olds vote: Why do young people vote less often than others?
• What are the basic purposes of the 14th Amendment?
▫ How are questions left unresolved at the Philadelphia Convention
addressed in the 14th Amendment?
▫ How are the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th
Amendment related to principles of limited government?
• How and why has suffrage been expanded in the US?
▫ Why has the expansion of suffrage been controversial?
▫ How have advocates of expanded suffrage used their rights under
the 1st Amendment to achieve their goals?
• What are the major arguments for and against JUDICIAL
▫ Alexander Hamilton claimed in Federalist No. 78 that “the
interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of
the courts.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
▫ What are the advantages and disadvantages of an appointed, lifetenured branch of government overturning laws passed by a
democratically elected body of government?

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