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  • When the next general election rolls around,

  • who will be eligible to show up at the polls

  • and vote for the President of the United States?

  • It's really pretty simple.

  • If you are at least 18 years old,

  • a citizen of the U.S.,

  • and a resident of a state,

  • you can vote,

  • assuming, that is, you are not a felon.

  • Seems about right.

  • After all, the United States prides itself

  • on being a democracy,

  • or a government in which the ultimate authority

  • lies with the citizens of the nation.

  • But it was not always this way.

  • In 1789, George Washington won

  • the electoral college with 100% of the vote,

  • but whose vote was it?

  • Probably not yours.

  • Only 6% of the entire United States population

  • was allowed to vote at all.

  • Voting was a right

  • that only white, male property owners

  • were allowed to exercise.

  • By the 1820s and 1830s,

  • the American population was booming

  • from the east coast into the western frontier.

  • Frontier farmers were resilient,

  • self-reliant,

  • and mostly ineligible to vote

  • because they did not own land.

  • As these new areas of the nation became states,

  • they typically left out

  • the property requirement for voting.

  • Leaders such as Andrew Jackson,

  • the United State's first common man President,

  • promoted what he called universal suffrage.

  • Of course, by universal suffrage,

  • Jackson really meant universal white, male suffrage.

  • All he emphasized was getting rid

  • of the property requirement for voting,

  • not expanding the vote beyond white men.

  • By the 1850s, about 55% of the adult population

  • was eligible to vote in the U.S.,

  • much better than 6%,

  • but far from everybody.

  • Then, in 1861,

  • the American Civil War began

  • largely over the issue of slavery

  • and states' rights in the United States.

  • When it was all over,

  • the U.S. ratified the 15th Amendment,

  • which promised that a person's right to vote

  • could not be denied

  • based on race,

  • color,

  • or previous condition as a slave.

  • This meant that black men,

  • newly affirmed as citizens of the U.S.,

  • would now be allowed to vote.

  • Of course, laws are far from reality.

  • Despite the promise of the 15th Amendment,

  • intimidation kept African-Americans

  • from exercising their voting rights.

  • States passed laws that limited

  • the rights of African-Americans to vote,

  • including things like literacy tests,

  • which were rigged

  • so that not even literate African-Americans

  • were allowed to pass,

  • and poll taxes.

  • So, despite the 15th Amendment,

  • by 1892, only about 6% of black men

  • in Mississippi were registered to vote.

  • By 1960, it was only 1%.

  • And, of course, women were still totally out

  • of the national voting picture.

  • It wasn't until 1920

  • that the women's suffrage movement

  • won their 30-year battle,

  • and the 19th Amendment finally gave women the vote,

  • well, white women.

  • The restrictions on African-Americans,

  • including African-American women,

  • remained.

  • After World War II,

  • many Americans began to question

  • the state of U.S. democracy.

  • How could a nation that fought

  • for freedom and human rights abroad

  • come home and deny suffrage based on race?

  • The modern civil rights movement

  • began in the 1940s with those questions in mind.

  • After years of sacrifice,

  • bloodshed,

  • and pain,

  • the United States passed

  • the Voting Rights Act of 1965,

  • finally eliminating restrictions

  • such as literacy tests

  • and protecting the voting rights

  • promised under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution.

  • Now, any citizen over the age of 21 could vote.

  • All seemed well

  • until the United States went to war.

  • When the Vietnam War called up all men

  • age 18 and over for the draft,

  • many wondered whether it was fair

  • to send men who couldn't vote to war.

  • In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution

  • made all citizens 18 and older

  • eligible to vote,

  • the last major expansion of voting rights

  • in the United States.

  • Today, the pool of eligible voters in the U.S.

  • is far broader and more inclusive

  • than ever before in U.S. history.

  • But, of course, it's not perfect.

  • There are still active efforts

  • to suppress some groups from voting,

  • and only about 60% of those who can vote do.

  • Now that you know all the hard work

  • that went into securing the right to vote,

  • what do you think?

  • Do enough citizens have the right to vote now?

  • And among those who can vote,

  • why don't more of them do it?

When the next general election rolls around,

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B1 TED-Ed voting amendment united suffrage african

【TED-Ed】The fight for the right to vote in the United States - Nicki Beaman Griffin

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/11/28
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