The very first United States Presidential election was held in 1789 after the ratification of the US Constitution in 1788.
There was only 13 States at this time and 3 States did not cast any votes, North Carolina, Rhode Island and New York. With a few exceptions only white men with property could cast a vote.
Columbus discovered America in 1492 and 298 years later in 1790 the US passes it first naturalization law, which ties the right to vote to citizenship status, to grant citizenship to white men and some woman who had lived in the US for 2 years or more. Then in 1798 the law is changed to increase the time to 14 years before an immigrant could become a citizen and earn the right to vote. The law was rewritten to try and control the activities of foreigners before an impending war but in reality it was a law aimed directly at the Irish and French immigrants.
15 years later in 1804 the 12th Amendment was ratified which required each voter to select a President and a Vice President together. The United States now has 17 States. It took another 16 years in 1820, before the property laws were repealed but a white male still had to pay a poll tax or be able to read and pass a religious test. Then an additional 20 years later in 1840, the poll tax, literacy taxes and religious tests were repealed but still only white men can vote. The United States now has 26 States.
We are now up to 1870- 61 years after democracy has come to the United States when the 15th Amendment was passed giving black males the right to vote 5 years after slavery was abolished in 1865. The United States now has 37 States.
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the Telephone. In 1879 Electricity was invented and between the years 1880-1890 it became widely available along with the telephone. World War 1 began in 1917.
Then 50 years later in 1920 women are finally given full rights to vote the same year that Radio stations began broadcasting. The United States now has 48 States.
Then in 1924 Native Americans are permitted citizenship but still aren’t allowed to vote. Hard to believe isn’t it they were born here but not given citizenship until 1924 but still not allowed to vote? The Emergency Delivery of the Diphtheria Serum to Nome AK via dog sled happened in 1925. The Second World War would begin Dec. 7, 1941.
In 1943 Chinese immigrants are eligible for citizenship 83 years after they helped build the Transcontinental Railroad. 1946 Filipino are granted the right to citizenship and in 1952 first generation Japanese immigrants can become citizens. While it wasn’t until 1948 that regular commercial television would gain popularity in the United States. The Korean War began in 1950 and would not end until 1953. In 1959 the United States is up to 50 States with Alaska and Hawaii the last to join and the Vietnam War has begun and will not end until 1973.
Finally in 1965 the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is enacted to ban literacy tests in the Deep South. I find it ironic that this bill was written for those in the Deep South but was also aimed at Alaska which had only became a State 6 years prior. It takes 5 more years to ban the literacy test in 20 more States and then in 1971 the 26th Amendment is passed giving voting right to 18 yr. olds.
Why the history lesson you may ask? Take a good look at the dates above, it took 172 years for the United States to recognize all its citizens and give them voting rights without poll taxes, literacy tests and religious tests. The people of the United States had electricity and telephones before women were granted full rights to vote. I’ll repeat that, it took 172 years for democracy to be applied to all the people who lived in the United States with no regard to race, religion, sex or creed. 172 years! I am appalled that a country that was discovered by immigrants and built by immigrants would turn around and pass laws that impacted those who followed after them and those who were here before them.
The first time I had seen or heard the phrase Vote for Anyone but… was in 2010 while I was traveling in Nevada.
I had posted this comment at Palingates that night:
This week I have been traveling through Nevada. I am seeing signs that say Vote for anyone but Reid. I asked a person who lives in Nevada what those signs are all about and I got a very interesting response. This person said those sign are due to Harry R’s being a Mormon and due to how long he has been in office. Since this person was willing to talk I asked about thoughts were about Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle running against Harry R. This is where it gets downright amazing.
This person claims to have much respect for Harry R but will not vote for him or support him in public. Re: Sharron Angle who is running against him- doesn’t care that she wants to privatize SS nor is a total idiot.
This person said they voted for McCain/Palin for 1 reason only- Voted Repub out of respect for a former employer who was a lifelong die hard Republican. No other reason…even though there was great concern regarding his health and her obvious lack of noticeable skills.
Then a fear of Pres. Obama was mentioned and how they have noticed that bi-racial folks in their area are now acting all big and bad now that Obama is in office. I was stunned. I asked how is this Pres.O’s fault. He is not responsible for individual’s manners. Next mentioned was how Pres.O hasn’t done anything and how he is leading this country down the tubes. I asked if ever watched Rachel M. To which I got a very firm NO! I replied that is too bad as she just did a segment that listed all his many accomplishments so far.
Keep in mind Harry Reid has always been a member of the Mormon faith and he was easily reelected in 2004. But in just six short years there were people in Nevada advocating to their neighbors to vote for anyone but Harry Reid due to his lifelong religious beliefs and time in office for a person who wanted to privatize Social Security and basically shut down government. They weren’t concerned that their vote would impact the entire Nation not just Nevada.
Fast forward to 2011 and now Sarah Palin is quoted as saying she will vote for anybody but Obama. The media once again gave her a pass on this oh so immature comment but you don’t have to. American history is not one of Sarah’s strengths but wouldn’t you think that a person who wants to have any influence in American politics would have studied our history enough to realize that the right to cast a vote in a United States election was not granted to everyone in 1798.
Who you choose to vote for is your business but when you voice your opinion or attempt to influence other’s opinion as Sarah Palin does, then just maybe you need to review the history of this nation and understand that others fought so that you would have the right to vote and it took 172 years before everyone in this county was granted the right to vote. Your vote does matter and in a national race your vote impacts the entire nation and yes sometimes more often than not it seems like the choice is the lesser of two evils.