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Persuasive Essay On The 26th Amendment

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In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting eighteen-year-olds the right to vote. Before this landmark decision, citizens of the United States “had to be at least 21 years old” in order to cast their vote in an election (National Constitution Center, n.d.). It was the escalation of the Vietnam War that led to this expansion of voting rights. During the Vietnam War, thousands of eighteen-, nineteen-, and twenty-year-old men were drafted into military service.
Proponents of a lowered voting age were quick to point out the irony that these young people were old enough to go to war but not old enough to elect the people drafting them. Congress proposed the 26th Amendment in response to immense pressure from angry, anti-war protesters. And, according to the National Constitution Center, the 26th Amendment was ratified in less than four months in what was and continues to be “the shortest ratification period of any constitutional amendment” (n.d.). Now, one would think that the record-breaking ratification of an expansion of voting rights would inspire young people to flock to the polls. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.
Since 1972, youth voter turnout has been on the decline. According to the Child Trends Databank, 50 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 participated in the 1972 presidential election (2015). Nearly three decades later, the percentage of young adults aged 18 to 24 who voted in the 2000 presidential election had dropped eighteen
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