The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution Explained

US Constitution
US Constitution

What Is The Fifteenth Amendment?

The Fifteenth Amendment was enacted in the United States Constitution in 1870. The clause grants the right to vote to African-American people. This was because black people faced discrimination in different ways, and one of them was the right to vote. The amendment states that despite someone’s color, servitude conditions, and race shouldn’t hinder any United States citizen from voting. It came to life after the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments were passed. The amendment enfranchised African American men, while all women from all races couldn’t vote. The discrimination acts against African-American people were especially brutal before the Fifteenth Amendment was added. However, black people didn’t see the amendment’s benefit until after almost a full century. Southern states were more prevalent in disenfranchising African American people. This was done through literacy tests, poll taxes, and other horrendous practices.

The Reconstruction Act.

The Reconstruction Act was passed during the period after which the Civil War had occurred. This is the time that African American men were fully encouraged to vote. In the subsequent years, they were even elected to serve in public offices. This was only possible in the Confederate States of America. However, this didn’t last long, and other states’ efforts to continue having African American men in offices were unfruitful. This was due to the rise of violence, literacy tests, and also poll taxes made it impossible for them to continue serving. This led to almost all African Americans who were in office and all others to be disenfranchised. The Voting Rights Act removed registration and voting prerequisites in 1965. This meant that changes could be made in certain jurisdictions, especially Southern states.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA)

President Lyndon B Johnson signed the VRA into law in 1965. This Act’s main aim was to terminate all the barriers set due to discrimination at the state and local levels. The obstacles that stopped African American men from participating in voting. To end the discrimination, the first thing the VRA did was to terminate the literacy tests used. The other change it brought about was bringing about voter registration’s federal oversight. This was done in regions where the number of registered African American voters was less than 50 percent of their population. It gave the United States attorney general the power to look into poll taxes being used in the state and local elections.

The year before, in 1964, poll taxes were banned in federal elections, and then they were prohibited in state elections in 1966 by The Supreme Court. The passing of the VRA vastly reduced the power of law enforcement at the state and local levels. It also made a considerable change in the voter turnout from the African American people since it enabled them to legally go against all the voting restrictions that were there before. However, in modern times, the Fifteen Amendment’s role isn’t significant because broader sources govern the right to vote to all people and not just a select few.

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