15th Amendment

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Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, the amendment securing the right of black males to vote, though the word black is not mentioned in the amendment itself.

During Reconstruction, the period right after the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery and the Fourteenth Amendment granting citizenship to all who are born here were ratified. Though the Reconstruction Acts passed by the Radical Republicans in 1867 required confederate states to include black male suffrage in their reconstituted constitutions, the majority of northern states still continued to deny blacks the right to vote. This hypocrisy truly riled the white south.

In 1867, the Republicans’ once large lead over the white supremacist Democratic party was shrinking, threatening a loss of their control of congress. The Republicans felt if they could make sure that blacks could vote in all the states, their hold on power would…

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