Suffrage and Election
The election policy of Indiana is one example of the state's pattern of racial discrimination. The state declared all elections to be free and equal, yet it enfranchised white males only. Along with blacks, the state disfranchised persons considered to have no stake in the community, including soldiers, women, and transients. Excerpts from the state constitutions of 1816 and 1851 describe Indiana's suffrage policy. From this perspective, Indiana was typical in its election laws. Most states, especially those organized before 1800, were cautious when assigning suffrage rights. This does not excuse Indiana, however; rather, it shows that discrimination was widespread in the United States.
Constitution of Indiana, Article 6, 1816.
Section 1. In all elections, not otherwise provided for by this constitution, every white male citizen of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, who has resided in the state one year immediately preceding such election, shall be entitled to vote, in the county where he resides; except such as shall be enlisted in the army of the United States, or their allies.
Constitution of Indiana, Article 2, 1851.
Section 1. All elections shall be free and equal.