TIME CAPSULE 1870 — Throughout our nation’s history, amendments have been added to our constitution in attempts to evolve and grow as a society. One such amendment was officially adopted on March 30, 1870.
That amendment, the 15th to be ratified by the U.S., made it possible for African American men to vote. However, the amendment also cleared a path for members of other discriminated people to vote as well. The amendment itself states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
According to Politico.com, after the adoption of the 15th amendment, there were many celebrations in black communities and many abolitionist societies disbanded shortly afterward because they thought their work was done. African Americans now had all the rights they needed and no longer needed federal protection.
President Ulysses S. Grant said the amendment “completes the greatest civil change and constitutes the most important event that has occurred since the nation came to life.” Many who had helped push the amendment through the ratification process now also believed that their work was done.
History has proven that those who believed that the plight of the black people was resolved were wrong. Yes, they gained the ability to vote, but suffrage is only a part of equality, not the defining factor.
Abbygail Vasas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org