“Why Voting Discrimination Haunts America; The 15th Amendment had a major flaw.”

Jesse Wegman NYT oped:

But for all the good it did, the 15th Amendment had a central flaw: Its words were cast in the negative. It told the states what they could not do — “shall not be denied or abridged.” It did not tell people they had an affirmative right to vote.

The decision to omit such a right from the nation’s founding charter represents a “road not taken,” as the historian Eric Foner argues in “The Second Founding,” his gripping and essential new account of the Reconstruction Amendments. “We missed an opportunity to really establish a national standard for voting,” he told me. “And we’re still reaping the consequences of that.”


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