In Medieval Europe no one voted except the kings. In colonial America only landowners voted, then those owning a certain amount of personal property.
After the Revolution, States gradually let those without land vote if they paid taxes, but many had religious and literacy tests.
In 1870, the 15th Amendment let former slaves vote.
In 1920, the 19th Amendment let women vote.
In 1924, American Indians could vote in Federal Elections.
In 1961, the 23rd Amendment let District of Columbia residents vote in Federal Elections.
In 1964, the 24th Amendment let vote those who could not pay a poll tax.
In 1965, the Voting Rights Act removed literacy tests.
On JUNE 22, 1970, President Nixon extended the Voting Rights Act to let 18-year-olds vote. The Supreme Court, in Oregon v Mitchell, limited this right so the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971 to confirm it.
President Nixon stated March 24, 1970:
In other areas, too, there were long struggles to eliminate discrimination … Property and even religious qualifications for voting persisted well into the 19th century – and not until 1920 were women finally guaranteed the right to vote.
On August 24, 1972, Nixon said:
For the first time in the 195 year history of this country, men and women 18 to 21 years of age will have the chance to vote.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.