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


Brandon Q, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:06pm

I belive that even if you have the right to vote as a citizen, it does not necceserily mean you are free. It is just your voice to the government. But also having the ability to vote gives you options on what you want as a citizen.

jesus m, 11th

February 25, 2011 - 12:02pm

i thought everything was a little mess up back then where you wuld have to fight for your rights but its good they lowered the voting age so people also have the apportunity to vote but i think its come a long way now and its geting better

Enrique G, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:04pm

you misspelled would haha

josh r, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:07pm


Enrique G, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 11:58am

I think that its inpiring to see people fight for their rights and the right to vote the fact that they never gave up and kept going :D

jesus m, 11th

February 25, 2011 - 12:06pm

what rights are you talking about did you read????

Marcos P, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 08:42am

I dont tink voting makes us free I belive than the goverment does whay they want to do not make the comunities option into consideration. An example of that is the law in arizona and now in indiana there a lot of people opposed to that low and there have been angry that let many people. And I think is bad about school boycott because the focus shifted to Washington, D.C., when 250,000 Americans marched for jobs and freedom. By fall, the movement had come north to Chicago.

Emiliano M, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 08:38am

I think that by voting it does not give is us the right to freedom. I thing that if we vote it does not even count because of coruption in our society. I also thing that people do not even exercise there right to vote.

jovanny r, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 08:31am

a vote does make a free nation witch makes us free men. our vote does make a big change in the result. And by not voting your just not letting people know what you think.

yadira L, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 08:31am

A vote does make us free. It gives us the people a voice. Also, the power to vote who we want in public office.