People struggled and died for the right to vote in this country. Let nothing stop you from participating in the democratic process.—
John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) November 04, 2014
Did you know that until 1812, there were property qualifications to be met in order to vote in the United States? (All property qualifications were done away with by 1860.)
Did you know that until the 15th Amendment, non-white men couldn’t vote?
Surely you knew that Senators weren’t elected directly by voters until 1913?
Of course, women didn’t get the vote until 1920.
Oh, and about that 15th Amendment? Non-white citizens (e.g., African Americans) weren’t allowed to vote in most Southern states until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Poll taxes, which barred many poor from voting, were done away with only in 1964, with the passage of the 24th Amendment.
What these plot points in history show is that the right to vote has not been a broadly accepted right in the history of this country. When the Founders established the republic, the franchise was limited to propertied white males, as they had a “stake” in the nation’s success.