Now i am no history buff so i will try to include all of my links here so that if i am wrong i can direct you to the quote that misinformed me. Today as many of us head out to vote for our next president, our senators, governors, and other elected officials as well as propositions, how many of us actually know how much voting means. How hard did some people work to get the right for us to go out and vote. Outside of wars we fought for our country's freedom do you know when Women were given the right to vote? Do you know when Blacks were given the right to vote? How many of us actually know the truth?
When this country was first founded only white property owners over the age of 21 were aloud to vote. This meant that a lot of white men, all women, and all minorities were denied the chance to participate in the democratic process. They were not aloud to have a say so on how the country was to be directed or who it would be directed by. This is a far stretch from what we see today. During the Civil War most white men could vote but the same could still not be said for minorities and women.
In 1866, the 14th amendment was passed. This changed slaves from 3/5 to whole people, and then in 1869 the 15th amendment allowed the right to vote to black men, but because of the "Black Codes" or state laws (which included restriction of the right to vote). Everything from taxes, hiding the polling places, and physical threats of violence were in these laws causing most black men to not vote.
The Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 was where the real fight for women's right to vote began. After a long fight, which was slow during the Civil War, two sides came together and in 1920 via the 19th amendment, women were aloud to vote. If you have never seen the movie Iron Jawed Angels i highly suggest it. It is a tear filled, high emotion, accurate depiction of history that will have you proud to be a woman in America. I also suggest if you have a teenage daughter and you want her to understand why it is our right to vote, and why we should take advantage of it, make her sit and watch this. My guess is she will be moved or at least understand the hardship that women had to go through just to win the right to vote.
In 1924, most Native Americans were given the right to vote. This is sad seeing as this is their land and they were here before the founding father's but that is a whole other topic. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is largely responsible for allowing minorities of all descents to vote. It banned and helped remove the laws that had previously prevented minorities from voting.
(Sources: I Want My Vote, Activote America, History Now)
So all of this history brings me to what i am about to say. I am so proud to be an American. For all the time it took, all the fights, all the wars, all the violence, what other country can you say people fought for there rights and won. Many great people died to give us the right to be free, to vote, to protest, and to live our life as we see fit. This is the only country where we can all stand together, regardless of our different views, and cast a ballot to say who should run our country, and no one is being killed over it. No one got shot today (knock on wood) because they voted for "the other guy". I am a Obama supporter but i respect if you aren't. It is your American right to choose who you want.
I am also proud that for the first time in history a black man is in the running to become president. He is a few hours from possibly making history. On the other side we are moments away from possibly having the first woman vice president. What amazing accomplishments no matter who wins. This election has moved us forward in the world ten fold. I know we still have a long way to go but we are moving and that is what matters.
I will be so proud to tell me mixed kids that one day they can truly be president if they work hard and want it bad enough. I will be able to tell my daughter (if and when i have one) that she can be president if she wants it bad enough. I can tell them that it doesn't matter the color of their skin or their gender they can do anything include run this great country of ours. This means so much to me. It means that my kids will be able to have the same future as any other kid. Yes their will still be those who turn their head and make their nasty comments but gosh darn it my kids can be president and that is a dream come true.
So i am done with my rant about all this mess and i hope that you all got out and exercised your rights today, because a lot of good people fought hard and even died to give you those rights!