Expanding Voting Rights

Lesson Duration

Expanding Voting Rights is a series of five lessons:

  • The Early Republic (Lesson 1) has students examine what the Constitution did—and did not—say about voting rights; then has them explore the first major expansion of voting rights: the inclusion of white men who did not own property.
  • African Americans Face and Fight Obstacles to Voting (Lesson 2) begins with the Reconstruction amendments to the Constitution, the first time the power of the states to set their own requirements was limited. But the story of African-American suffrage unfolded over the next 100 years. In Lesson 2, students learn about the obstacles that prevented African Americans in many states from exercising their right to vote, and their fight to dismantle those obstacles.
  • The Voting Rights Act, 1965 and beyond (Lesson 3) focuses on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Students explore why it was necessary, and then look at recent attempts to end its protections.
  • Women’s Suffrage (Lesson 4) returns to the past, with students exploring how women won the right to vote, another historical moment in which there was change at the national level.
  • Finally, The 26th Amendment (Lesson 5) has students exploring the Constitutional Amendment that granted 18-year-olds the right to vote.



Teaching Tolerance


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