US History II
March 24, 2011
Barriers Formed by the South Imposing the 15th Amendment
During the Civil War of 1861, the black vote was nearly impossible to achieve. In 1870, the 15th Amendment was enacted which gave Africans Americans the right to vote. By passing this Amendment, southern whites became extremely angered and thus found ways to work around the Amendment. Some important barriers to avoid the amendment were white-only primaries and also poll-taxes. Others were grandfather clauses, and literacy tests. Although the Amendment was created to grant suffrage to African American males, the South created poll-taxes and used white only primaries to deny them from voting.
In the United States, voting is among one of many privileges granted to the citizens. After the Revolutionary War, white male who owned property were only allowed to vote (Pendergast et al. 300). During the 1860's and earlier, black men were denied to vote in elections, causing an altercation among Congress.
The Reconstruction period were the years following the Civil War, which called for three constitutional amendments (Newman 75). One of which happened to be the 15th Amendment. The Amendment was passed February 26, 1869, and became part of the United States Constitution in March 1870 (Newman 76). It specifically stated that no one can be denied of voting, in any state, due to their race (Lieberman 192). Out of spite, the southern states felt a need to retaliate against the 15th Amendment. Therefore, they set out for barriers that would help deny the African Americans from voting.
One barrier in which provided a struggle among African Americans was literacy tests. In 1890, Mississippi adopted the policy but soon it spread rapidly throughout the south. The Literacy Test was based upon someone's knowledge and to prove their U.S...