Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins
Chicago History Museum

Does the vote make us free?

For most of the country’s history, Americans have fought about who should vote. Activists have marched, petitioned, and demonstrated to fight for the right to vote. Gender, race, and age have each kept some from voting.

Constitutional amendments have expanded this right. In 1868, the Fifteenth Amendment extended the vote to African American men, and in 1964 the Twenty-fourth Amendment) outlawed voting fees, tests, and other tactics used to stop black voters. The Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granted women the right to vote. The Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971) lowered the voting age to eighteen in response to youth protests during the Vietnam War.

Despite the move toward universal suffrage, voter turnout is often low. The Outer Banks Sentinel (12/9/2010) reports that in the 2010 mid-term elections, 56% of registered voters did not vote. Many eligible voters are not exercising their rights in our democracy.

Discussion closed on March 12, 2011


adylene c, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:18pm

i believe voting doesnt make us free because either way for who we vote the government is always going to take up place in decided who is better to be elected, even though at times we may not think that but its true.

Suffrage photograph, 1914
Suffrage photograph, 1914

yourmom l, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:16pm


shirley c, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:15pm

voting isnt what makes us free,

Angelica U, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:15pm

It may not make us free but most of us really want a better future and want something new for once. Some may not because they don't their voice to be heard, but most of us do want our voice to be heard. We care about what's going on in our country,and we want a change.

serafin r, 11th

February 25, 2011 - 12:08pm

NO it doesnt make use free it give use a bit of freedom but it doesnt give use much liberty and justice

Guillermo u, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:08pm

i think voting make us free because we get to choose who is right and whos not..

Omar G, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:08pm

Well I personally believe that voting is cool but it dosent really make a difference in elections to me. There has always been a clear winner in elections. In the 2008 Presidential elections everyone knew Barack Obama was going to win and yet people still wasted their votes on McCane. In the 2011 mayoral elections in Chicago Everyone knew that Rham Emmanual was going to win and people stilll voted for the others. I just think its stupid for people to belive that their one vote makes a difference. There has never been an election won by one vote so stop saying one vote makes a difference:p

karla H, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:07pm

This website is interesting it have alot of sources of imformation. That only think i would change make it a little bit specfic for directions. In some part i get stuck because it was a little of confusing. But over all i like how everything is very deatling and explains very will the documentation.

Speaking up , been yourself, making justices, everything count . I think know a day people shouldn't be scare to speak up. Having of freedom of speach gives up the right to fight for our right instead of not speaking up.

Fatima V, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:07pm

Voting does makes us free.This opportunity give us a voice that each and one of us have.It's a good way to express yourself.

Edi Q, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:06pm

I believe that a vote could make us free. Also not just the vote it self the goverment has to do with it. The reason i believe this is because people are the goverment as its says in our constitution.