African American Voting Rights Essay

What has changed is the nature of suppression—either the addition of regulations, or the deregulation of parts of the process—as well as the degree to which would-be vote suppressors reveal their intentions.The American problem with voter suppression started with a void in the original Constitution, which did not include a right to vote.However, this type of exact match system is referred as “disenfranchisement by typo” because, when submitting a voter registration form, if a person has a hyphen missing on their name, or a missing apostrophe, or if you use “Steve” on one form and “Steven” on another, that registration form is going to be blocked by the state election officials of Georgia.[6] It is interesting to note that Georgia had first tried to put this policy in place in 2009, but, thanks to the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department blocked this exact match system from going into effect because they found it discriminatory against minority voters – who would be more likely to be flagged by this system.[7] So, what happened? It’s a simple answer: the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in (2013). [22] “The provisions stated that officials shall be punished for failure to count the votes of eligible electors, when the Fifteenth Amendment granted Congress only the power to punish officials for depriving electors of the right to vote Nixon v.

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The Fifteenth Amendment did pass in 1870, but it did not explicitly grant voting rights to minorities, it only prohibited the states from denying the right to vote based on race, color, or condition of previous servitude.

After Reconstruction, states evaded the Amendment with seemingly race-neutral laws such as literacy tests and poll taxes. Supreme Court overturned a piece of the Voting Rights Act.

This 10-month deliberation took three times longer than the convention that drafted the nation’s constitution in Philadelphia in 1789, and its delegates played on the common prejudice that African Americans lacked the moral and mental fitness needed for suffrage.

They charged that unscrupulous men of wealth would buy the black vote and corrupt elections with voter fraud.

It is impossible to walk through Cedar ward, in a clear warm evening, for the black population.” African Americans countered such claims and protested “white-only” suffrage by issuing “The Appeal of Forty Thousand Citizens Threatened with Disenfranchisement to the People of Pennsylvania.” The appeal asked why the new state constitution denied “that all men are born equally free by making political rights depend on the skin in which a man is born? Constitution or any federal voting rights laws, the disenfranchised black people of Pennsylvania and other states had no recourse to any authority higher than their discriminatory state constitutions and hostile state courts.

Or to divide what our fathers bled to unite, to wit, TAXATION and REPRESENTATION.” The appeal said that the freedom of all depended on the freedom of the least powerful and that “when you have taken from an individual his right to vote, you have made the government, in regard to him, a mere despotism, and you have taken a step toward making it a despotism for all.” Such appeals proved unavailing in Pennsylvania and across America. This represented a serious retreat for the country.

Delegate Benjamin Martin, a Democrat from Philadelphia County, spoke for the majority at the Pennsylvania convention when he said, “It is altogether futile and useless to pursue the experiment of making the African and Indian equal to the white citizen.” Perhaps thinking about the Fogg suit, Martin continued that voting rights would ill-serve blacks, because an aroused public would turn them away from the polls, thus “holding out expectations to them which could never be realized.” He warned of attracting African Americans to the state.

Look to Philadelphia, he said, where blacks congregate “from all the southern States, and have so corrupted each other, that they are now in a situation far worse than the bondage from which they have escaped.

This omission allowed states to suppress the votes of non-whites by various means.

In the antebellum period, the pattern of suppression was deregulatory and explicit, as Americans pursued the ideal of a “white man’s republic.” States expanded the franchise for white males by eliminating property and tax-paying qualifications for voting, while at the same time explicitly excluding women, Native Americans, and African Americans.


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