The Constitution Today: Voting

Preamble to the United States Constitution - The National Archives

Preamble to the United States Constitution

The Constitution Today: Voting

When the Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution, states had the power to decide who could vote. In our series, The Constitution Today, a look how national voting rights have evolved.

The history of voting in the United States is ever-evolving. As we have changed as a society, so have our ideas about who is a citizen and who has a right to vote. The Founding Fathers said little in the Constitution about voting. It was left up to each state to decide on eligibility. For nearly a century after the Constitution was written, voters were almost entirely white men who owned land. After the Civil War, men of all races were given the right to vote. Fifty years later, women finally won that right, too. The third segment in our series on "The Constitution Today" examines how voting rights have evolved over time.


Michael Quinn

president and executive director of James Madison's Montpelier.

Marcia Greenberger

founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center.

Henry Chambers Jr.

professor of law, University of Richmond.

The U.S. Constitution: Full Text


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