The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Facts

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Facts
In the years after the American Civil War, the U.S. Congress ratified the Fourteenth (1868) and Fifteenth (1870) amendments to the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to former slaves, while the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited the states from denying the right to vote based on race. When Jim Crow laws became the norm in many southern states, especially in the deep south, restrictive voting laws were also introduced. Although none of these restrictive voting laws were ever expressly racial in nature, they certainly targeted less educated blacks. The Voting Rights Act came directly out of the Civil Rights Movement, gaining sympathy in the country after a series of well-publicized acts of violence against civil rights activists. Seeing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 addressed legalized segregation but not voting rights, President Lyndon Johnson ordered Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to draft a tough voting rights law. The bill was introduced into Congress in March 1965 and after much debate and compromise in both the Senate and House, it was passed and signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965. The passage of the law led to violent reprisals by white militant organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and it also allowed the FBI to make many arrests of people in those groups due to voting and civil rights violations.
Interesting The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Facts:
Under the United States Constitution, voting eligibility is determined by the individual states.
One of the common voting restrictions states used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the "grandfather clause," which stated that if you were allowed to vote before the Civil War, or if you are descended from such a person, then you do not have to take a literacy test or pay a poll tax to vote. Of course, most black Americans would not have qualified.
Poll taxes were when people were charged a fee to register to vote.
Poll taxes were once common in many states, both north and south, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 made them illegal.
As with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opposition in the House and Senate was more along geographic than party lines with both Republican and Democrat southern congressmen opposing the bill.
The Act provided for federal elections examiners to observe voting in states, counties, and districts that have historically prevented racial and ethnic minorities from voting.
Literacy tests were often required to register to vote in many southern states, which effectively kept many African-Americans, and poor whites, from voting.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 had many special provisions, which focused on states and counties considered to have historically erected voting barriers based on race or language background.
Two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 require certain jurisdictions in counties with large Hispanic populations to print election materials in Spanish and English.
After the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, black and Hispanic voter registration greatly increased and there was a realignment in the political parties: white southerners switched to the Republican Party while blacks and Hispanics overwhelming registered and voted as Democrats.

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