The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1870, and prohibited federal and state governments from denying any citizen the right to vote based on that person's "race, color or previous condition of servitude." The amendment was important in that it not only gave African Americans the right to vote, but also allowed the most African Americans in history to be elected into public office.
- The Civil War ended in 1865 and slavery was abolished later that same year. Discuss how these events led to the ratification of the 15th Amendment.
- Why would the 15th Amendment be important for all men?
- A year before the 15th Amendment was ratified, Alexander Clark successfully lobbied for the word "white" to be removed from Iowa's state constitution. Discuss how the Iowa decision might have impacted the national amendment.
"15th Amendment to the Constitution," U.S. Congress, 27 February 1869. Courtesy of Library of Congress