15th Amendment

15th Amendment

Agreed to by Congress February 26, 1869; ratified and in force February 3, 1870.

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Also spelled out as the Fifteenth Amendment or Amendment XV, the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits states from denying voting rights to citizens based on race, color or previous condition of servitude (meaning slavery). It was specifically intended to guarantee suffrage to former male slaves and their male descendants.

The 15th Amendment was agreed to by the United States House of Representatives February 25, 1869 and by the Senate the following day. It was ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and in force February 3, 1870.

The fifteenth was the last of the three constitutional amendments commonly referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments, the other two being the 13th Amendment (1865) and 14th Amendment (1868).