G CS 11

Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution

Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the United States.

Content Statement

11. Four amendments have provided for extensions of suffrage to disenfranchised groups.

Content Elaborations

A recurring theme in amending the Constitution of the United States has been the extension of voting rights to more citizens. Over time, the fundamental democratic practice of voting has been made possible for different groups of people.

Amendment 15 prohibits the denial of suffrage to people because of race, color or previous condition of servitude. Amendment 19 prohibits the denial of suffrage on account of sex. Poll taxes disenfranchised the poor and were also used as Jim Crow legislation to deny the right to vote to African Americans.

Amendment 24 prohibits the use of poll taxes in federal elections. Finally, as a result of many young men being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, but not being able to vote, Amendment 26 extends the right to vote to citizens who are 18 years of age or older.

Expectations for Learning

Cite evidence to show that the Constitution of the United States has been repeatedly amended to extend suffrage to disenfranchised groups.