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.



1787

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.


1800

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


1802

All Black people were banned from voting.


1807

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


1828

Maryland passed legislation that banned Jewish citizens from voting.


1865

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


1870

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.


1875

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


1890

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