The Right To A Voice

One of the freedoms described by Eric Foner in chapter 15 was the freedom to vote. The 15th amendment was ratified in 1870 and it closed the doors to restrictions based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”. Having the right to vote meant that African Americans were another step closer to equality. It gave them the same voice and power the whites have, in determining the future of their state and their country. However though the 15th amendment was passed and ratified, many African Americans still could not or were scared to vote with the new problems that arose.

Though the 15th amendment was passed and ratified, that did not meant that the freedom to vote was obtained in the short term. Many problems that prohibited or denied African Americans the right to vote even though the amendment was passed. Problems such as groups threatening African Americans who attempt to vote, poll tax which charged money to vote, and literacy tests which required African Americans to pass a test before voting. A law is only a law if people choose to follow it and in this case, the right to vote for African Americans were mostly an illusion.

However in the long run, this freedom to vote was finally achieved throughout the United States. It has finally become a true freedom in 1997 when Tennessee, the last and final state, ratified the 15th amendment. Though slaves were finally “free” in the 1860-1870’s, it wasn’t until over another 100 years later, that African Americans were truly free and equal. This equality and freedom is seen today, and evidently more present and obvious, with Obama taking the presidential seat in 2008.

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