Cause and Reason for the 15th Amendment
The cause or reason for this addition to the Constitution was to try to ensure the voting rights of of black male citizens and to nullify the Dred Scott decision. However, in many Southern states the implementation of poll taxes and literacy tests, attempted to deny this right for nearly 100 years when the issue was addressed in the 24th Amendment. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eventually suspended the use of literacy tests in all states.
Problems with the 15th Amendment: Poll Taxes and Literary Tests
A poll tax (one of the 'Jim Crow ' racial segregation laws was enacted by many Southern states as a means of restricting eligible black voters. Poor blacks were unable to pay the tax and therefore could not vote. Literacy tests were also introduced as part of the voter registration process. Anyone who had not been educated was certain to fail the Literacy test and therefore not be able to vote.
Problems with the 15th Amendment: The 'Grandfather Clause'
Many poor whites were protected from the Poll Tax and Literacy Test measures to prevent voting by the 'Grandfather Clause'. The Grandfather Clause allowed anyone to vote if their father or grandfather had been registered to vote before the 15th amendment.
Problems with the 15th Amendment:: Women's Suffrage
The 15th Amendment caused outrage in the Women's Suffrage Movement because the amendment made no reference to a woman's right to vote.
15th Amendment Meaning, Explanation and Summary
The meaning of the words and phrases in the 15th Amendment of the Constitution are explained as follows:
Meaning of the Words of the 15th Amendment
|"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"
|Explanation & Meaning: The meaning of the word 'abridged' in this section means reduced. So neither the US government, nor individual states, can deny US citizens the right to vote based on race (their ethnic group), color or whether they were previously slaves.
It should be remembered that Amendment 13 abolishing slavery at the end of the American Civil war (1861-1865) was only passed 5 years before this amendment.
|"...The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
|Meaning: Congress can make any laws to enforce this change to the constitution.
Meaning of the Words of the Fifteenth Amendment