The Declaration Of Independence And Independence Essay

The Declaration Of Independence And Independence Essay

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The idea of citizenship is commonly accompanied with the idea of suffrage. The right to vote is the main driving force that led the Founding Fathers to write the Declaration of Independence and break off from the British. The Declaration lists one of the reasons for revolt to be, “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.” Consent in this case would be the right to vote, a famous slogan from the Revolutionary era sums it up simply as, “No taxation without representation.” The idea that one cannot be taxed by a government if he is not represented through his vote set the grounds for revolution and led to the debate- who should be allowed to vote? In the early stages of an independent America mostly white men who owned property were allowed to vote, however, black males, as well as every other race, and even those who do not own property were eventually allowed to vote. This was possible due to the Civil War and the Constitutional Amendments that followed, which gave the federal government the power it needed to further the cause of equality in the United States.
Qualifications for voters were debated even early on within the life of the United States. Even though the Constitution does not clearly mention who gets to vote, those who were present at the convention all had differing views about who should be allowed to vote. Col. Mason is
quoted as saying, “Eight or nine States have extended the right of suffrage beyond the freeholders, what will the people there say, if they should be disfranchised.” It can be inferred from this quote that the rights of suffrage were decided by the states at the time. Allowing states to decide on who gets to vote is not the best idea if the ultimate goal is equality, which it should be since the...


... middle of paper ...


...f citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The 14th Amendment protects the citizen from certain injustices that might be practiced by states, neutralizing the state 's power. Though this does not necessarily answer the question about who should be allowed to vote, it does create a certain equality among states and protects the citizen from various injustices that could take place. The 14th Amendment also gives congress the power to enforce this amendment, further establishing the federal government as superior to the states. The 15th Amendment, in turn, explicitly mentions who is able to vote. Rather than it just being white men who owned property, the 15th Amendment states that the right to vote cannot be taken away regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

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