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The History of Voting Rights in the United States

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
11-12.RH.2, 11-12.RH.4, 11-12.RH.7, 11-12.RH.8, 11-12.RH.9, 9-10.RI.7, 9-10.RI.9, 11-12.RI.2, 9-10.SL.1.a, 9-10.SL.1.c, 9-10.SL.1.d, 9-10.SL.3, 9-10.SL.5, 11-12.SL.1, 11-12.SL.1.a, 11-12.SL.1.b, 11-12.SL.1.c, 11-12.SL.1.d, 11-12.SL.2, 11-12.SL.5, 11-12.SL.6
State Standards:
Missouri State Standards Theme 1 (1A, 1B, 1D, 1E, 2A, 2B, 2C, 5A, 5B) Theme 2 (1A, 2A, 2B, 2C, 5C) Theme 3 (2A, Theme 6 (2B, 2C)

How did people vote in the 19th century? Who was allowed to vote, and what restrictions were put into place to limit access to the ballot box? What are some of the major issues surrounding voting and elections in the Unites States today? 

In this series of educational videos, Park Ranger Nick Sacco (Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site) provides an overview of changes, progressions, and setbacks in the history of voting rights in the United States. Each video is under ten minutes long and designed for social studies, civics, and government classes at the high school level. These videos, which are audio described and captioned for accessibility purposes, are as follows: 

1. Voting and Elections in the 19th Century
2. Absentee Voting During the Civil War
3. What Techniques Have Been Used to Keep People from Voting? 
4. Debates About Voting and Fair Elections Today

To watch these videos in your web browser, visit the Challenging History video page or click on the links above. A downloadable discussion guide is included below to help teachers and students use these materials in the virtual or in-person classroom. 

This video series is a part of "Challenging History," a collaborative effort by historians, teachers, and National Park Service employees to promote the teaching of history in St. Louis, Missouri. 


Download "The History of Voting Rights in the United States" Discussion Guide

Last updated: October 27, 2020