Our Difficult Journey Towards Universal Suffrage

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Our difficult journey towards universal suffrage
As the text book defines it, franchise or suffrage is the right to vote. In the United States, it took many years to gain universal suffrage, or the ability of all citizens to have the right to vote. In the late 1700’s only about 5% of Americans were eligible to vote (wealthy, white, males of certain religious affiliations). By the early 1800’s, the properly ownership and religion requirements were dropped allowing most white males to vote.
Even though the 14th amendment gave citizenship to everyone born or naturalized in the country, the first real legislation towards giving men of color the right to vote was the 15th amendment. The amendment ratified in 1870 stated that 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 [library of congress, 1]." Technically speaking, this federal legislation should have been given the blacks the right to vote regardless of their status.
However, this was not popular with the white establishment in the southern states in particular, as they quickly found loopholes and other techniques until 1965 to effectively block the votes from being cast. Although this was meant to affect the black population for the most part, these techniques affected the whites who were poor as well. Among others, the most common ways to disenfranchise were the use of violence, poll
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