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Handout A: Equality and Voting Amendments


List one or more of the constitutional principles most closely associated with each constitutional amendment paraphrased below. The first one is done as an example.
Women in early America had no right to vote, and faced additional legal restrictions as well. Others who faced obstacles to equal participation in their communities included enslaved individuals and white men who owned insufficient property. Slaves were considered property and denied all their rights. Depending on specific laws within a given colony/state, religious minorities were also excluded from voting or holding office. Some of the amendments to the United States Constitution since those days help trace steps toward equal opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. People seeking the ideals of equality and justice have used their natural rights to speak, write, and assemble, as guaranteed in the First Amendment, to pursue laws and constitutional amendments expanding equality and voting.


Year Amendment Principle(s)
1865 Thirteenth Amendment prohibited slavery Equality, federalism, inalienable rights
1868 Fourteenth Amendment defined citizenship and prohibited states from denying due process and equal protection of the law to any person.
1870 Fifteenth Amendment protected the right of African American men to vote
1913 Seventeenth Amendment changed the method of voting for United States Senators. Prior to this time, U.S. Senators were selected by their respective state legislatures. The Seventeenth Amendment provided for the people to vote directly for their U.S. Senators.
1920 Nineteenth Amendment protected the right of women to vote.
1961 Twenty-third Amendment provided for the appointment of presidential electors for citizens of Washington, D.C.
1964 Twenty-fourth Amendment prohibited poll tax as a requirement for voting for federal office-holders.
1971 Twenty-sixth Amendment protected the right of people ages 18 and older to vote.