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Voting Rights In America

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Voting Rights in America

12 Oct, 2005

The United States of America has come a long way from the original 13 colonies. They started out as a colony governed by a Monarch from England, switched to a republic at the start of the revolution and today we still have that republic base in our democracy. Although the way how the government hasn’t changed much, the way how we vote does. At first only the rich and powerful were able to vote, but in present day America, any legal US resident of age not in prison can vote. Every year, the people get out and vote for people that will try to do what they want to do, if not they elect another person for the job. America is truly a great place to live and work in without the fear of oppression or discrimination. The United States success was and is based on having equal rights for all.

When the colonies started out, they were ruled by England. The monarch of England would choose people to come over to America to represent how the King would have wanted it to be done. The people of these colonies were okay with it at the time because they were all new to this “New World”. Once things got settled in and real town were forming, they realized that they had absolutely not representation in England. Although they didn’t like that idea, they were still to poorly organized to do anything about this.

Wars came into effect in America. The British and the French were fighting constantly while the colonies had its own trouble with the Native Americans. England ran out of money and saw the colonies as a way out. They started to tax and build up natural resources in the colonies. What they thought is, if they are fighting in Northern America, the Northern American citizens should pay for this. While England thought this was good, the colonies did not, unfortunately they could not be heard because of no representation in Parliament.

When the British started taxing tea in Northern America, the citizens of North America became annoyed with the taxes and show England that they were not going to take it. The Boston Tea Party occurred. There was mass rioting in the harbor district as well as thousands of crates of tea being pushed overboard. Some people did get shot in the confrontation between Americans and the Red Coats (British army). Britain sent more troops in to deal with the rioters which they thought would help, but in reality didn’t.

The Continental Congress met and couldn’t figure out a plan of action to deal with the British. They ended up just leaving and coming back to Philadelphia a year later were they drafted and approved the Declaration of Independence mainly written by Thomas Jefferson but with help by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

The revolution happened and the British were defeated by the Americans and our new ally, the causally late country of France. With the General leading us to victory, he became the first president of the United States of America. George Washington. Unfortunately he did not do anything to change voting rights, because at that time the congress of Philadelphia voted him to be our first president.

In the early years of the republic, the eligible electorate consisted primarily of white, male, property owners. This meant that only the rich of the day were allowed to vote. This consisted of plantation owners, building owners, and men in the army. States would gradually relaxed property-ownership requirements and just stated that white male citizens of twenty-one years of age or more were allowed to vote.

With this being the case, congress on both sides (Senate and the HOR) were being voted by their citizens. 2 senators from each state and 1 representative per the amount of people at the time. The northern states were worried because the southern states wanted to count the slaves in their population. After a long debate, they came up with the 3/5 compromise. This compromise ment every slave count as being 3/5 of a citizen of the state. Although the compromise hurt the population count in the southern states, the states were still considered the most populist.

The next major voting right change came when the north defeated the south in the Civil War. In 1866, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, guaranteeing citizenship to the former slaves and changing them in the eyes of the law from 3/5 of a person to whole persons. Then, in 1869, the 15th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote to black men, with women of all races still unable to vote.

Although this was a big step for African Americans being able to vote, some southern states didn’t like it. In 1869 marked the beginning of "Black Codes," or state laws that restricted the freedoms of African Americans. Among the freedoms restricted was the freedom to exercise the right to vote. Literacy



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