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Home > History > Amendment 15 - United States Constitution Interactive

Amendment 15 - United States Constitution Interactive

This page provides the text and interpreted text of the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is part of our interactive Constitution.

Jim Crow Laws, such as a poll tax shown above, were legally passed in the South as a result of the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution

Jim Crow Laws, such as a poll tax shown above, were legally passed in the South as a result of the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution

 

What does it Say?

Section 1. The right of the 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.

Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

What does it Mean?

The 15th Amendment prohibits states from denying individuals the right to vote based on race, color, or because they were former slaves. The 15th Amendment, however, failed to restrict states from setting voting qualifications. This led to Jim Crow Laws such as poll taxes and various voting tests, which "legally" and effectively prohibited most African-Americans from voting.

 

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