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Copy of the Fifteenth Amendment Sent to North Carolina, 1869


This document is a circular sent out by W. H. Holden, dated March 4, 1869. Holden sent the circular to North Carolina, alerting them that there was a proposed Fifteenth Amendment that needed to be ratified by all of the states.

The proposed amendment would expand voting rights to all African-American males, allowing citizens to vote regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Prior to this point many African Americans were effectively blocked from voting due to various laws and constitutions. These barriers were selectively discriminatory, as they were created with the intent to bar African Americans from voting but were written in such a manner that they did not outright forbid them from voting.

The amendment was submitted to the North Carolina legislature by the Governor W.W. Holden and was ratified on March 5, 1869. Virginia would ratify the amendment months later on October 8, 1869, and the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on March 30, 1870.

Citation: Fifteenth Amendment Circular, May 4, 1869, Accession 43756, Henry Wells Executive Papers, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.



Suggested Questions

Analyze: How did the Fifteenth Amendment alter or change the demographics of the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction?


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