The origin and ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment came just two years after the Fourteenth Amendment had passed. Even though the Fourteenth Amendment stated that it ensured equal rights and protection for every person born or naturalized in the United States, many states found ways to continue their thoughts and methods of inferiority over African Americans. Before the amendment was actually embraced, only eight states in the north gave black men the right to vote. This constitutional amendment stipulated that the right to vote could not be denied on account of race, color, or because a person had been a slave (Hine, 2013). Certain states in the west also gave black men the right to vote but as expected, many white people and even Native Americans did not feel African Americans should be given these rights and did many cruel and hateful acts to keep them away from the political systems.
The Enforcement Acts were in direct response to the heinous acts of violence that ensued because of the African Americans uprising in the United States. The terroristic acts of the Ku Klux Klan forced congress to pass these acts to protect black people and ensure those violating the acts be tried in federal court. Two acts were passed, one in 1870 outlawing the disguises or mask to protect the civil rights of citizens. The other, also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed in 1871, made it a federal offense to interfere with a person right to vote, hold office, serve on a jury, or enjoy equal protection of the law (Hines, 2013).
Both the Fifteenth Amendment and the Enforcement Acts had great intentions on protecting the rights of not only African Americans but also all Americans in general; it still lacked the support of many white people around the nation.
The Fifteenth Amendment was a constitutional amendment stating a person could not vote due to race or because they had previously been a slave. The Fifteenth Amendment started in 1869 due to issues with blacks and their rights to vote. The Fifteenth Amendment granted people of color the right to vote without being stopped due to their race. This amendment however, was only a benefit for African American men, generally located in the South, leaving women left in the start and still unable to vote. This amendment however did not cover anything else that limited the privileges of American citizens. The Enforcement Act started in 1870 and 1871 and was originated to help weaken the effectiveness of terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. The Enforcement Act enabled the president to use military forces and allowed him the to be able to take a person to court and charge that person with a crime if they were arrested. This act helped expand the authority that the federal government had within the states. The law made it illegal for one to use things to disguise themselves and protected the civil rights of its citizens. The Enforcement Act allowed white men to be tried usually against a black jury and most of them that were tried by they jury were convicted, imprisoned or fined. Acts such as the Enforcement Act helped decrease violent acts and movements of the Ku Klux Klan.
The 15th amendment states that the United States government cannot deny a person the right to vote based on race, color and gender. The 15th amendment granted African American men the right to vote. The amendment was adopted into the U.S. Constitution in 1870. The amendment states that: “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.” Despite all odds, discriminatory acts prevented African Americans to exercise their right to vote. After many of years, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that denied blacks their right to vote under the 15th Amendment. Even after many years of African Americans being treated poorly and being ignored the Voting Rights Act gave African-American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout.
The Enforcement Act, are three bills that congressed passed in office, rights to vote, hold office, or enjoy equal protection of the laws. These bills allowed the federal government to intervene if the state didn’t. There is Enforcement Act of 1870, empower the President with the legal authority to enforce the first section of the Fifteenth Amendment throughout the United States. There is Enforcement Act of 1871 Act of the United States Congress which empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations. The target of the acts was the Ku Klux Klan, whose members were murdering many blacks and some whites because they voted, held office, or were involved with schools. The KKK didn’t like blacks getting involved you can say the white mans world. President Grant stated that “insurgents were in rebellion against the authority of the United States.” He sent federal troops to restore law and order to many areas where violence was raging at its worst.
After doing all this reading and getting a better understand of the 15th amendment and Enforcement Act I learned something new and how there where laws in place to help African American. Since there was a lack of police enforcement laws where broken and a lot of people where hurt. I don’t know if we can say history is repeating itself with what is all going on in the world today. But I do think change always have to take time to happen.
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