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Relive The Past

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A brief history of our right to govern ourselves…

1776Only white men with property had the right to vote but Catholics, Jews, Quakers, and others were barred from voting. 1790 The Naturalization Act barred Asian Americans from becoming citizens. 1848After the war with Mexico, Mexicans living in the conquered territories were granted US citizenship, but property and literacy requirements kept them from voting. 1866The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship, but not the right to vote, to all native-born Americans. 1870The 15th Amendment was ratified, “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.” 1882The Chinese Exclusion Act denied citizenship and voting rights to Chinese Americans. 1887The Dawes General Allotment Act granted citizenship only to those Native Americans who gave up their tribal affiliations. 1888Florida adopted voting requirements that reduced African American voter turn-out by 82% over the next four years. 1896Louisiana reduced African American voter turn-out by 99% over four years by restricting the vote to literate property owners or those whose grandfathers were eligible to vote. Illiterate white men could vote because their grandfathers could vote, but the grandsons of slaves were barred. 1920The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Indians could vote if they “had adopted and observed the habits and mode of life of civilized people.” 1920The 19th Amendment was ratified giving women the right to vote. 1922The Supreme Court upheld the Naturalization Act of 1790, which meant that aliens were ineligible for citizenship. 1923The Supreme Court ruled that Asian Indian immigrants were not “white” and were therefore ineligible for citizenship and the right to vote. 1924The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 declared all non-citizen Indians born within the United States to be citizens, giving them the right to vote. 1921New York adopted literacy tests to prevent Southern and Eastern European immigrants from voting. 1937 The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of poll taxes, denying the vote to those who could not afford to pay them. 1943The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed, giving Chinese immigrants the right to citizenship and the right to vote. 1946Filipinos were granted the right to become US citizens. Federal courts ruled that white-only primary systems were unconstitutional. 1952The McCarran-Walter Act gave first-generation Japanese Americans the right to become citizens. 1959The Supreme Court ruled that literacy tests for voting do not violate the 14th and 15th Amendments. 1962The Supreme Court ruled that courts can direct legislatures to redraw district boundaries to ensure citizens’ political rights. 1964The 24th Amendment outlawed poll taxes. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, and gender in voting, public places, the workplace, and schools. 1965The Voting Rights Act prohibited any election practice that denies the right to vote on account of race. 1970The Federal court in Texas overturned laws prohibiting assistance for Mexican American voters. 1971The 26th Amendment gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. 1972The Supreme Court decided that “Duration Residency” rules were unconstitutional. 1974The Supreme Court ruled that states may deny convicted felons the right to vote. Federal courts outlawed New York’s English-only election system as discriminatory. 1975President Ford reauthorized the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act and made the permanent ban on literacy tests apply nationwide. 1990The Americans with Disabilities Act required that election workers and polling sites provide a range of services to ensure that people with disabilities can vote. 1993The National Voter Registration Act, also known as the “Motor Voter” Bill, makes registration more uniform and accessible, especially for minority and low income voters. 1995The Supreme Court ruled that race cannot be the “predominant factor” when drawing district lines.


Christina said...

Thank you for that, how we have grown.

Tessa said...

I agree, we have really grown and come a long way! Thanks for the informative post! :)

whitey said...

first time here loved your backyard quilt show

Carol in Sweden said...

We've grown....and we're still growing!

What a grand country we have been....and will be again!