Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


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The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) was the third and last amendment adopted in the era immediately following the Civil War. For the first time in American history, it prohibited states from denying the right to vote to individuals on the basis of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Section 2 of the amendment further vested Congress with power to enforce it.

The Fifteenth Amendment bears elements of both continuity and discontinuity with earlier American history. Consistent with...