Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 85. Act to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment May 31, 1870

A BILL to enforce the right of citizens of the United States to vote was introduced in the House, February 21, 1870, by Bingham of Ohio, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. May 9 a substitute was reported and the bill recommitted. The substitute measure was again reported May 16, and passed the same day, the vote being 131 to 43, 54 not voting. May 20 the Senate, after an all-night session, passed a substitute by a vote of 43 to 8, 21 not voting. The House disagreed to the Senate amendment, and a conference committee settled the final form of the bill. The report of the conference committee was agreed to by the Senate on the 25th by a vote of 48 to 11, and by the House on the 27th by a vote of 133 to 58, 39 not voting.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XVI, 140-146. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 41st Cong., 2d Sess., and the Cong. Globe. The House substitute of May 9 is in the Globe for May 16; the text of the Senate bill is in ibid., May 20. Part of the act followed a report on New York election frauds, House Report 31, 40th Cong., 3d Sess. On general political conditions in the South see House Report 37, 41st Cong., 3d Sess.; Senate Report 1, 42d Cong., 1st Sess.; House Exec. Doc. 268, 42d Cong., 2d Sess.; House Reports 101 and 261, 43d Cong., 2d Sess. The Congressional documents contain numerous reports on affairs in the different States.

An Act to enforce the Right of Citizens of the United States to vote in the several States of this Union, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted. . ., That all citizens of the United States who are or shall be otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election by the people in any State, Territory, district, county, city, parish, township, school district, municipality, or other territorial subdivision, shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections, without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; any constitution, law, custom, usage, or regulation of any State or Territory, or by or under its authority, to the contrary notwithstanding.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of any State, or the laws

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