The __Fifteenth Amendment__ (__Amendment XV__) to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the Suffrage based on that citizen's "Race (human classification), Colored, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments - wikipedia
By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black male voters was important for the party's future.
On February 26, 1869, after rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude. After surviving a difficult ratification fight, the amendment was certified as duly ratified and part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870.
Supreme Court of the United States decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, southern states adopted new state constitutions and enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration. This resulted in most black voters and many poor white ones being Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction Era by Poll tax (United States) and discriminatory literacy tests, among other barriers to voting, from which white male voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of white primaries and violent intimidation by white groups also Voter suppression black participation.
In the twentieth century, the Court began to interpret the amendment more broadly, striking down grandfather clauses in ''Guinn v. United States'' (1915) and dismantling the white primary system in the "Texas primary cases" (1927–1953). Along with later measures such as the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbade poll taxes in federal elections, and ''Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections'' (1966), which forbade poll taxes in state elections, these decisions significantly increased black participation in the American political system. To enforce the amendment, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of elections in discriminatory jurisdictions, banned literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices, and created legal remedies for people affected by voting discrimination.
The amendment created a split within the women's suffrage movement over the amendment not prohibiting denying the women the right to vote on account of sex.
# See also