Black People : It Took 100 Years for New York State to Ratify the 15th Amendment

Keita Kenyatta

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Feb 7, 2004
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    • The 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended voting rights to all adult males, including freed slaves. It stated: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." (39) The Constitution requires that once an amendment has been proposed, three fourths of the states must ratify for it to be approved. New York State ratified the amendment on April 14th, 1869, and then passed a resolution to withdraw its consent on January 5, 1870. The validity of this reversal was in question at the time.
    • Earlier, Ohio and New Jersey had rescinded ratification of the 14th amendment, and Congress questioned the validity of the reversals and declared the 14th amendment to be ratified, listing Ohio and New Jersey among the states approving it. Before New York's withdrawal of consent of the 15th amendment, U.S. ratification would have been completed on February 3, 1870; as a result of New York's withdrawal, if valid, U.S. ratification was completed on February 17, 1870 when Nebraska ratified. The New York State legislature rescinded the withdrawal of consent to the amendment 100 years later, in 1970.
 

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