Peak Constitutional Amendment - XV

Posted On: Monday - March 30th 2020 6:02AM MST
In Topics: 
  History  Liberty/Libertarianism  Race/Genetics  Morning Constitutional

(Continued from Amendment XI, Amendment XII, Amendment XIII, and Amendment XIV.)

It's been almost 2 weeks since our last morning Constitutional - this whole site's been getting pretty irregular ...

As the last of 3 Yankee Occupation , errr, "Reconstruction" Amendments, Amendment 15 was ratified about a year after being submitted, with the 28th out of 37 States, Iowa, having voted yea in early February of 1870. The Southern States, being occupied, did not vote per the wishes of their populations.

This one is at least plain and simple, seemingly allowing no loopholes (hahaaa, then came Earl Warren and the 1960s). It could have had the word "solely" before "by race" to clarify, in my opinion, that this is the ONLY thing the amendment is about. It probably should have used the wording "former condition of slavery" rather than "previous condition of servitude", as that was what it was written about, not former criminal convicts.

On the face of it, sure, why not? The Blacks freed from slavery were given their due rights as Americans by Amendment XIV, so why not the right to vote, as granted to everyone else? Wait, the right to vote was NOT granted to everyone else. It was not a given that every citizen could vote. That was up to the various States themselves, and not specified in the Constitution. Bill of Rights Amendment X says this power is left to the States (or the people, but how would the latter work out?)

Although written with purported good intentions, though I'm not so sure it was, the more I think about it, Amendment XV was another usurpation of the rights of the States. It does NOT sound right to bar people of a different race from voting, but perhaps the States may have known better. As with other restrictions on voting rights, and there were many back then, these should have been left up to the States themselves. During the "Reconstruction", the politicians of the North had no problem ditching States' rights, the war itself being a good example for them, in the name of sticking it to the South.

As we've been doing, Peak Stupidity has again looked at the Constitution Center site's interpretation page. You get what you'd expect in the current era, a PC version with absolutely no argument on the States' rights side. There's this little gem:
The constitutional meaning of the Civil War was reflected in these three amendments...
"The Constitutional meaning of the Civil War"? Uh, no. These two interpreters really ought to do more studying in their endowed chairs at their universities, as States' rights was more the Constitutional meaning of that war, and it and the South were defeated. The moral cause for the elimination of slavery in America is a good one, but if the 13 States of the Confederacy wanted out, nothing in the Constitution prevented them from leaving.

Then the authors go on to explain the disenfranchisement of Blacks in the South from 1890 until the 1960s. Their use of the literacy requirements as one of their examples is a pretty lame argument. Would that not disenfranchise many White people too? "Yeah, but it was aimed at Blacks, the majority who couldn't read and write" would be their retort. Exactly, and just like the Whites who couldn't read and write, perhaps they shouldn't be voting! It's not my call. It should have been, and should still be, the call of the government of Georgia, Montana, Texas, New Hampshire, etc.

What came along an even half-century later was Amendment XIX on voting rights for women. The rights of the various States to determine who is allowed to vote had been usurped once, so why not keep going? The writers then go on about a whole bunch of ways Amendment XV, along with XIV often, was used 90-100 years later, by the Socialist Earl Warren Supreme Court, to bolster arguments for all the unfair and unconstitutional civil rites laws.

I am not happy with the lame-ass one-sided interpretations on the Constitution Center as of now. The site is well-organized though and is still a good resource.

At first glance, Amendment XV was an obvious move. As usual with these things, it was bound to be interpreted in all manner of unconstitutional ways. The writers may naively have not expected that. Worse though, this one was a blatant power grab by the Federal Government. Peak Stupidity gives 1 thumb down and one remains sideways in order to help us catch a ride home ... got kinda overextended on this morning's Constitutional.

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