Brief History Lesson: American Voter Suppression

By: Loriana London-Calderon

The average American citizen is aware of the fact that once they turn 18-years-old they are legally allowed to vote in any local, state, or federal election. But do you know the history behind how that right came to be or even about the measures put into place to currently prevent people from voting? Let's take a trip down America's memory lane and see.


Founding Fathers wrote into the constitution that state/local elections are allowed to regulate themselves, but the federal government reserves the right to change that as they see fit.


All white men could vote and only 5 out of 16 states had white-only voting


All Black people were banned from voting.


New Jersey passed a law that gave the right to vote to "all inhabitants" and proceeded to disenfranchise all women and Black men.


Maryland passed legislation that banned Jewish citizens from voting.


The Civil War came to an end, a four-year war.


The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed, stating: slavery was illegal unless it was used as a punishment, citizens are people who are born or naturalized here, and people are not to be denied the right to vote based on sex, race or social standing.

This led to a rise of Black voters and representation in government during reconstruction, which upset many white Southerners. In 1870 Mississippi elects their first Black senator, Hiram Rhodes Revels. This led to a Black majority within the Republican party.


Mississippi Democrats begin campaigns of terror on the polls to intimidate Black voters, by 1881 they regained majority control.


The Democrats admit to these tactics and ask for more recommendations on how to keep it up.