Suffrage in America: The 15th and 19th Amendments

Parade surrounded by portraits of Black life, illustrating rights granted by the 15th amendment. Library of Congress.
Image of a parade celebrating the passage of the 15th Amendment, 1870.

Library of Congress, Cartoon Prints Collection.

The right to vote (also known as suffrage) is an important part of our democracy. Throughout history, different groups were prevented from taking part in the voting process. At one point, women, people of color, and immigrants could not vote. People without money, property, or an education were also barred from voting.

Several amendments were added to the Constitution to recognize suffrage rights of certain groups. Ratified in 1870, the 15th Amendment recognized the voting rights of African American men. Fifty years later, Congress and the states ratified the 19th Amendment. This amendment recognized the suffrage rights of women.

Even though half a century passed between the ratification of the 15th and 19th Amendments, they are very similar. Discover the connection between these two amendments. Learn about how different marginalized groups fought for suffrage rights.

Last updated: April 3, 2019


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