The fight for the right to vote in the United States – Nicki Beaman Griffin

The fight for the right to vote in the United States – Nicki Beaman Griffin


When the next general election rolls around, who will be eligible to show up at the polls and vote for the President of the United States? It’s really pretty simple. If you are at least 18 years old, a citizen of the U.S., and a resident of a state, you can vote, assuming, that is, you are not a felon. Seems about right. After all, the United States prides itself on being a democracy, or a government in which the ultimate authority lies with the citizens of the nation. But it was not always this way. In 1789, George Washington won the electoral college with 100% of the vote, but whose vote was it? Probably not yours. Only 6% of the entire United States population was allowed to vote at all. Voting was a right that only white, male property owners were allowed to exercise. By the 1820s and 1830s, the American population was booming from the east coast into the western frontier. Frontier farmers were resilient, self-reliant, and mostly ineligible to vote because they did not own land. As these new areas of the nation became states, they typically left out the property requirement for voting. Leaders such as Andrew Jackson, the United State’s first common man President, promoted what he called universal suffrage. Of course, by universal suffrage, Jackson really meant universal white, male suffrage. All he emphasized was getting rid of the property requirement for voting, not expanding the vote beyond white men. By the 1850s, about 55% of the adult population was eligible to vote in the U.S., much better than 6%, but far from everybody. Then, in 1861, the American Civil War began largely over the issue of slavery and states’ rights in the United States. When it was all over, the U.S. ratified the 15th Amendment, which promised that a person’s right to vote could not be denied based on race, color, or previous condition as a slave. This meant that black men, newly affirmed as citizens of the U.S., would now be allowed to vote. Of course, laws are far from reality. Despite the promise of the 15th Amendment, intimidation kept African-Americans from exercising their voting rights. States passed laws that limited the rights of African-Americans to vote, including things like literacy tests, which were rigged so that not even literate African-Americans were allowed to pass, and poll taxes. So, despite the 15th Amendment, by 1892, only about 6% of black men in Mississippi were registered to vote. By 1960, it was only 1%. And, of course, women were still totally out of the national voting picture. It wasn’t until 1920 that the women’s suffrage movement won their 30-year battle, and the 19th Amendment finally gave women the vote, well, white women. The restrictions on African-Americans, including African-American women, remained. After World War II, many Americans began to question the state of U.S. democracy. How could a nation that fought for freedom and human rights abroad come home and deny suffrage based on race? The modern civil rights movement began in the 1940s with those questions in mind. After years of sacrifice, bloodshed, and pain, the United States passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, finally eliminating restrictions such as literacy tests and protecting the voting rights promised under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Now, any citizen over the age of 21 could vote. All seemed well until the United States went to war. When the Vietnam War called up all men age 18 and over for the draft, many wondered whether it was fair to send men who couldn’t vote to war. In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution made all citizens 18 and older eligible to vote, the last major expansion of voting rights in the United States. Today, the pool of eligible voters in the U.S. is far broader and more inclusive than ever before in U.S. history. But, of course, it’s not perfect. There are still active efforts to suppress some groups from voting, and only about 60% of those who can vote do. Now that you know all the hard work that went into securing the right to vote, what do you think? Do enough citizens have the right to vote now? And among those who can vote, why don’t more of them do it?

98 thoughts on “The fight for the right to vote in the United States – Nicki Beaman Griffin

  1. I agree completely. Besides it just not making sense, an added downside is all the candidates that get voted in for being "tough on crime", which has resulted in the highest incarceration rate of any nation in history.

  2. While I wholeheartedly agree this would disenfranchise the large majority of people who do vote including many people currently in office which is why it would never pass. I mean for love of all that is awesome most people are apparently unaware of Section 8 of Article 1(let alone any other section) of the US Constitution or if they are they don't care that the people reporting the news clearly don't.

  3. Maybe it's because of the voting system, the electoral college, which makes it possible to win the elections with only 21.9% of the people voting for you, that their are less people who vote.

  4. if you were on a ship, but didnt know it's inner mechanisms and workings, shouldnt you still have a say in whom the captain, and what the destination should be? (assuming everyone got to chose that)

  5. I've seen his videos and I live in a country where we have the 1,2,3,etc… system and other improvements on the US system. But the fact remains if you're dissatisfied and want things to change, you have to vote. That is the only point I'm making. "Fear politics" is another issue and one that I can't cover completely in a single comment, but the short solution is to stop being afraid of the opposition and vote for who you actually want, compromise is for the politicians, not the ballot box.

  6. When you live in a country where the radical party shuts down the government because they didn't get what they wanted, despite what they wanted repealed was a 100% lawfully passed act, you do have to fear the opposition.

  7. just voting on a party is not democracy. If the people really had power we would be able to vote on things like, should we have roads or trains? which people should be allowed into the country? How should we educate people? Voting for some one who then has your real vote for you is not democracy, its a joke at the public's expense.  

  8. I would feel better about this, if the Supreme court hadn't gutted the VRA and Texas was enacting such stringent voting requirements that a judge couldn't vote in her own courthouse and a retired senator couldn't either. It's a more active effort to deny the votes of legal immigrants, the elderly, and women due to how poorly constructed the ID law is. Small government my butt.

  9. The Civil War was about Slavery and essentially nothing else. When you say "States Rights", it begs the question "States Rights to what?", the answer to which is "Slavery".

  10. "There are lots of good quality, charismatic, electable people in the world",  "Some Youtubers are electable like the Green brothers and CGP Grey."

    These things I agree with.  Here is the problem, I just voted Tuesday, 8 seats, 14 Candidates, you know how many independents?  0.  Election Law in my state keeps them out.  Unless you change how we choose our candidates there is no hope for reform from within.  None.  I think there are good people out there, I think they are all waiting for a different system before they dream of committing themselves to public service. 

  11. Hey, Good Mornoonevenight, as much as I appreciate being called "Simple minded", I am not sure your comments have anything to do with the stream of conversation.  If you are arguing that Women got the right to vote because of war I believe you should go back and check out the dates for the women's suffrage movement.   Minute 2:30 if you want to be lazy.  Either way it really isn't real relevant to the main discussion…  Maybe you are trying to be cute?  "Countless mini wars every month"…not sure.  Sarcasm is tough in comment sections. 

  12. I don't vote because my vote doesn't count. I am a republican living in the state of NY. It just doesn't matter who I vote for. After all, NY electoral votes go to a democrat candidate. I hope they get rid of the electoral college so every vote will count. 

  13. The USA isn't a real democracy. A real democracy doesn't do industrial espionage, spy on the whole world with as "terrorism" as a excuse,  have a intelligence agency that censors media, have torture camps, allow people to be put in jail without trial, allow death penalties for kids or adults, starting wars all the time, allow themself to have nuclear weapons, nor only allow two parties in the election. A real democracy do have fair rights, the CRC as a law, allow all people to marriage and is not assumes you are guilty until proven otherwise.
    USA is indeed a horrible country and it's actually sad that the US "represents" the Western World.

  14. Why are hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the campaign for only 2 parties?  How about asking that question in the video.  Where is the democracy in that?

  15. Some people don't vote, because there is no one legit to vote for. Children should also be able to vote, because adults are scammed too, they cant vote on their honest opinion o-o

  16. I have taught my children the governments ,federal/states/local are to tax you,so vote for your self interest…..4 of our 7 sons are old enough to vote and do so….

  17. I believe prisoners should be allowed to vote even while still in prison. Its nonsense to suggest that because they committed a crime they forgone their rights; laws effect them too, even more than most. Also it could be a good way to help integrate them back into society by getting them interested in politics and showing them they can change things and make society a better place…

  18. the main core purpose of voting is to vote the right person who will be able to make the country a better place for everyone overall. 
    The problem with current voting system is that people who has no basic education can vote too. Those people have hard time distinguishing lies and false promises that politicians blurt out. 
    I am not going against any particular race or culture to vote (actually its the opposite).
    I believe that we need literacy requirement test in order to vote, which is not biased against any race or culture, but test that looks if that person has minimum education level in order to make the right vote.

  19. NO Reason being CORPORATIONS BUY OUT HOUR VOTE.
    I believe if that these two amendments should suffice this ordeal
    1"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."
    2"Corporations are not people. They have none of the Constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed."
    NOTE: IF anyone sees a problem please explain why.

  20. The US has never been a democracy, and the founding fathers never wanted it to be. Even the US Constitution states what this country was intended to be: a republic.

    Article IV Section 4, "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…"

    "We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments."
    —Alexander Hamilton 1787 

    "Democracy has never been, and never can be, so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty." 
    —John Adams 1814

    "Democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
    —James Madison

  21. Here in Australia, once you turn 18 you have to vote, it's compulsory for all Australian citizens over 18. When you turn 16 you can choose to vote but its not compulsory. Not doing so and you can be fined up to $2000. Bit harsh but works for us….

  22. I do wonder if it's appropriate to give people the right to vote even though they don't have to do much of anything to get it. People who don't even have an idea of what they're talking about will vote and that can lead to disaster. People will vote for a candidate because they went to the same school or they think the candidate is good looking rather than the candidate's political platform or legislative history. I'm not sure what kind of standard should be implemented, but the way it is now, I don't particularly agree with it.

  23. People don't vote because it's like voting for a giant douche or a turd sandwich, all neo-liberal, pro-war, liars. System is flawed brah. 

  24. I feel like Americans think that the fact that we have to vote means we are not free. I have been interested in politics from a young age because I have to vote. Not just that, I want to vote! I want to have my say. Theres a reason why we have so many more benefits in Australia, its because we all get involved and vote for what we want. The fact that we have to vote has only gotten us more interested in it. We have to do it, so we may as well make it count!

  25. I also had no idea that some citizens did not have the right to vote. Why? Doesnt it contradict everything you believe in to not give them the freedom to choose to vote or not?

  26. This video has an inaccuracy.  Some women could actually vote before 1892.  In particular women in the state of Wyoming could vote http://constitutioncenter.org/timeline/html/cw08_12159.html  And between 1790 and 1807 some women in New Jersey could vote: "The New Jersey constitution of 1776 enfranchised all adult inhabitants who owned a specified amount of property. Laws enacted in 1790 and 1797 referred to voters as "he or she", and women regularly voted. A law passed in 1807, however, excluded women from voting in that state."  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States

    The way the 19th Amendment is also misleading.  The federal government didn't deny voting rights to women.  The federal government left such a matter up to the states (who generally didn't grant any voting rights to women, but things are complex here… see the map in the first link above).

    In the United States it holds that criminal sentencing is often harsher on men than women.  And felons while in prison, and sometimes even when they are not in prison, do not have the right to vote.  Since men constitute the largest proportion of the prison population, it ends up that in America today women as a group have more voting rights than men as a group.

  27. Until paper ballot voting is restored, there seems to me no reason to waste my time when my vote has an equal chance of not being counted or counted correctly depending on whom it is I decide to attempt to cast said vote for

  28. K but elections have turned into a laughing stock because basically anyone with money can buy their votes and their way into the White House. ( ahem * Donald Trump * )

  29. When you vote, you're exercising political authority. You're using force. And force is violence, the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived. Whether it's exerted by ten or ten billion, political authority is violence by degree. I wonder what the city fathers of Hiroshima would have to say. They probably wouldn't say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed. Naked force has resolved more issues in history than any other factor. The contrary opinion that "violence never solves anything" is wishful thinking at its worst. People who forget that always pay… They pay for it with their lives and their freedom.

  30. I don't vote because I'm so fed up with the political system. The Two Party System is joke! They should abolish that system and the primary elections . We should also get rid of the electoral votes while we're at it.

  31. Is every one so delusional that they think voting makes any difference at all. And if it does then why is 65% of my neighborhood full of empty houses. Not to mention that if so many people believed Obama was even a consideration its game OVER !! All those so called professionals have done IS RUIN EVERYTHING ! ! We do not need voting we need REVOLUTION !! Voting what a HORRIBLE JOKE. The REAL WAR IS HERE AT HOME.

  32. Yeah yeah yeah, so from where do the USA take their right to teach the world democracy? You have so called democracy only for about 50 years.

  33. Terrible video, the narrator keeps saying how finally this group got to vote and criticising the guy was only making more white people vote and completely ignores the injustice of how anyone under 18 is not aloud to vote… Not very consistent TED-Ed.

  34. It's time we give US citizens in Guam full voting rights as US citizens in the states. It's outrageous how our soldiers and our fellow Guamanians who are identified by the Guam Organic Act of 1950 as US citizens aren't given the rights they deserved. I hope after 64 years of oppression we the people of Guam are given the greatest gift of democracy the vote for our president and have our one and only delegate the the voice and power to vote on our country's bills and other issues.

  35. ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION IS THE LAW IN 31 STATES IN THE USA. In past elections, thousands of honest citizens were denied the vote simply because they were not registered to vote. Online registration gives citizens another chance to register. You may also have the right to do an address change or a name change online. You usually have to have a state driver's license or a state ID card to register online. To get more information, and to receive online registration services, and to be linked up to your specific state, go to Google and google in "register to vote." EVERY STATE is important to vote in, not just the battleground states. We must vote for the President, but we must also vote for ALL of the down ballot candidates, including senators, representatives etc. Let's get everyone registered to vote. THEN LET'S EVERYONE VOTE IN NOVEMBER!

  36. I think the reason some people don't vote is because they might be homeless and they need to focus on getting food and shelter.

  37. Women did have the right to vote, this is is misleading. It was based on landowners. If women owned land they could vote, but in most familes the land was in the husband's name and he voted for the family. If he passed away the wife voted. If she owned land and was not married, she voted. It wasn't until 1807 when the women's vote was wiped out, and you can blame it on New Jersey. Women were voting for the Federalist party

    http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/new-jersey-recognizes-the-right-of-women-to-vote

    In 1919 when the vote finally came to congress for national womens's suffrage Democrats tried to filibuster and block the Amendment.

    Claiming that voting was limited to white men is just another attempt by progressives to paint America as the racist/sexist/homophobe part instead of admitting it was their political party that was the cause of women losing the vote in the first place.

  38. SOME 17 YEAR OLDS CAN VOTE IN PRIMARIES IN THE USA. We should recognize that in 16 states in our nation, some 17 year olds can vote in the primaries and caucasus. In the general election in November, you have to be 18 years old. But some states allow 17 year old young people to vote in the primaries. These laws usually state that if a young person is 18 before the November election, he has a right to vote in the general election, AND ALSO in the primary that is linked to that election. In the 2018 election the following states allow 17 year olds to vote in primaries, Nebraska, New Mexico, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. Let's get the 17 year old to vote in the 2018 primaries. Let's look forward to the 2018 election.

  39. Let's be blunt here: people who are still fighting for what amounts to a suggestion box designed primarily to legitimizes new elitists to have a monopoly on human society seriously need to reevaluate their priorities.

  40. Elections in America🗳🇺🇸are the same as elections in North Korea🗳🇰🇵, empty gestures 🗳🚫where all the options are derived from one source 💸

  41. Working people should be paid on election day while they vote so they aren't worried about losing their job or not getting enough money

  42. +TED-Ed Why don't more of them do it? Gerrymandering, social engineering by the tech sector, legal bribery (Super-PACS), election fraud, rigged voting machines, voter suppression by both parties, having election on Tuesday while not protecting the jobs of people who would vote otherwise, lack of viable choices, lack of candidates who stand for issues the lower 90% would vote for, and flat out election rigging. Oh, don't forget super delegates. Other than that America's super democratic.

  43. Washington had others running against him that got electors votes Hancock got 4 . so people are lying when they say he got 100% or a unanimous . elections are rigged . your vote is a pacification .

  44. I may be in the majority for saying this, but women should not vote in America. During the suffrage movement, a very significant percentage of women did not want the right to vote; they did not believe it was their place. Look at the social disintegration of countries after women were given the right to vote. Women tend to vote with the mindset of what is "fair" instead of what is right. Women tend to sway votes to more and more socialist ideals (check out how well that's working out in Sweden, alas, most of Europe.).

  45. 100% of people qualified to vote can vote we don't need illegals or people who aren't citizens to vote. Everyone knows name of that guy who was entitled to vote but was denied to vote you know his name right. What is the name of the lawsuit again?

  46. Why doesn’t everybody vote? IF I didn’t feel that none of the listed candidates (doesn’t have to the entire ballot, just for certain offices) are fit to be in office, what happens if I wrote that in? Will it have an actual effect?

  47. I think the voting age should be lowered to 16. Lots of decisions that politicians make will directly affect kids in the present or indirectly in the future. Some people say that kids can just ask their parents to vote for a certain person, but parents don’t always have the same values as their teens. 😀

  48. Very cool worx, thanx; also: exactly, the carbon bootprint is the largest and worst, "…we(e),…" must stop it. Think, 400 years of supposed science, a millisecond evolutionarily, has brought humanity to it's extinction, destroying what it took the Cosmos 18 billion years of evolution to create, an insect damaging so much grain, an instant destroying so much grace, human race be not the Earth's still birth. Leaving no footprints, that followed none, you, illimitable potential, indivisible as life, walking in nature's balance, giving back to it's abundance, can know 'the root of all oppression lies in science", Gandhi, that you, leaving no footprints, no trace, that will echo on in all ways, always, can be alival instead of survival; will you? Any scientist who doesn't do a full public mea culpa before posting, with each post to youth, communicating anything to 'youth' on the climate emergency is just a corporate structure's convolutionary and disciple of the religion of scientism; no more than a marketeer 🙂 reality

  49. "Voting was a right that only white male property owners had…" FALSE… as later alluded to, voting decisions have already been made locally. There were, in fact, others that voted in the Nation's first election when in local places the electorate was expanded to build a ruling majority. A good example of this is western states allowing women to vote long before 1920 precisely because locals needed a majority to claim statehood,

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