African American males used those rights extensively, with over 1,500 elected, from local offices to statehouses, and including U.S. Sen. Hiram Revels from Mississippi and six congressional representatives from South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
The Ku Klux Klan and other vigilante groups, often led by former Confederate officers, intimidated, attacked and killed African American voters. Grant sent federal troops and marshals to protect these voters, but after his term ended, southern segregationists triumphed, full voting rights having to wait until the 1960s.
Though cheering these expanded voting rights for males, women suffragists were disillusioned that the 15th Amendment did not include them. Many women, like Susan B. Anthony, were also advocates for slavery’s abolition. They had hoped that expanding rights to formerly enslaved men would also open the ballot box to women.
It would take another 50 years before women were granted full ballot access. Some states, like Illinois, had granted women voting rights before 1920. It took the 19th Amendment, with Tennessee the final state to ratify, to ensure this right nationally.
To win that right, women marched, protested, fasted and were jailed. Fierce debates took place over women’s ability to vote or that women’s voting would somehow weaken men.
This election year there are multiple women running from local offices to the nation’s vice presidency. Even with these breakthroughs, many Americans don’t fully exercise their right to vote.
Credit: Source link