Lesson 25: How Has the Right to Vote Expanded Since the Constitution Was Adopted?

Lesson Purpose

The Constitution originally left it up to the state governments to decide who should have the right to vote. In the early years of our nation, the states limited the right to vote to white men who owned property. In 1789, white men who did not own property, members of certain religious groups, freedmen, Native Americans, slaves, and women were not allowed to vote. In this lesson you will learn about how the right to vote has been expanded in the last two hundred years to achieve a basic ideal of our representative democracy-the constitutional right of all adult citizens to vote.