full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Nicki Beaman Griffin: The fight for the right to vote in the United States

Unscramble the Blue Letters

When the next general election rolls around, who will be eligible to show up at the plols and vote for the President of the United States? It's really pretty simple. If you are at least 18 yaers old, a citizen of the U.S., and a resident of a state, you can vote, ainsumsg, that is, you are not a foeln. Seems about right. After all, the United States pdeirs itself on being a democracy, or a government in which the ultimate authority lies with the citizens of the nation. But it was not always this way. In 1789, George Washington won the eceraoltl college with 100% of the vote, but whose vote was it? Probably not yours. Only 6% of the entire United States population was allowed to vote at all. Voting was a right that only white, male property owners were alwoeld to exercise. By the 1820s and 1830s, the American population was booming from the east coast into the western fnotirer. Frontier feramrs were resilient, self-reliant, and mostly ineligible to vote because they did not own land. As these new areas of the nation became states, they typically left out the property requirement for voting. Leaders such as Andrew Jackson, the United State's first common man piensdert, promoted what he called universal suffrage. Of course, by urnasivel suffrage, Jackson really meant universal white, male suffrage. All he emphasized was getting rid of the property requirement for viotng, not expanding the vote beyond white men. By the 1850s, about 55% of the adult poauiloptn was eligible to vote in the U.S., much better than 6%, but far from everybody. Then, in 1861, the American Civil War began lerglay over the issue of slavery and states' rights in the United States. When it was all over, the U.S. ratified the 15th Amendment, which posmerid that a person's right to vote could not be denied based on race, color, or previous condition as a slave. This mnaet that black men, newly affirmed as citizens of the U.S., would now be allowed to vote. Of course, laws are far from reality. Despite the promise of the 15th Amendment, intimidation kept African-Americans from exercising their voting rights. sttaes passed laws that limited the rhigts of African-Americans to vote, including things like literacy tests, which were rigged so that not even literate African-Americans were allowed to pass, and poll taxes. So, despite the 15th annmemedt, by 1892, only about 6% of black men in Mississippi were registered to vote. By 1960, it was only 1%. And, of course, women were still totally out of the national voting picture. It wasn't until 1920 that the women's suffrage movement won their 30-year battle, and the 19th Amendment finally gave women the vote, well, wtihe wemon. The restrictions on African-Americans, iidnlcnug African-American women, rameneid. After wlrod War II, many Americans beagn to question the satte of U.S. democracy. How could a nation that fought for freeodm and hmaun rights abroad come home and deny suffrage based on race? The mroedn civil rights memevont began in the 1940s with those questions in mind. After years of sacrifice, bloodshed, and pain, the United States pssaed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, faillny emianilintg restrictions such as literacy tests and protecting the voting rights promised under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Now, any ciitezn over the age of 21 could vote. All seemed well until the United States went to war. When the Vietnam War called up all men age 18 and over for the draft, many wondered whether it was fair to send men who couldn't vote to war. In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution made all citizens 18 and older eligible to vote, the last major expansion of voting rights in the United States. Today, the pool of eligible voters in the U.S. is far broader and more inclusive than ever before in U.S. history. But, of course, it's not perfect. There are still active etroffs to suppress some groups from voting, and only about 60% of those who can vote do. Now that you know all the hard work that went into securing the right to vote, what do you think? Do enough ctiniezs have the right to vote now? And among those who can vote, why don't more of them do it?

Open Cloze

When the next general election rolls around, who will be eligible to show up at the _____ and vote for the President of the United States? It's really pretty simple. If you are at least 18 _____ old, a citizen of the U.S., and a resident of a state, you can vote, ________, that is, you are not a _____. Seems about right. After all, the United States ______ itself on being a democracy, or a government in which the ultimate authority lies with the citizens of the nation. But it was not always this way. In 1789, George Washington won the _________ college with 100% of the vote, but whose vote was it? Probably not yours. Only 6% of the entire United States population was allowed to vote at all. Voting was a right that only white, male property owners were _______ to exercise. By the 1820s and 1830s, the American population was booming from the east coast into the western ________. Frontier _______ were resilient, self-reliant, and mostly ineligible to vote because they did not own land. As these new areas of the nation became states, they typically left out the property requirement for voting. Leaders such as Andrew Jackson, the United State's first common man _________, promoted what he called universal suffrage. Of course, by _________ suffrage, Jackson really meant universal white, male suffrage. All he emphasized was getting rid of the property requirement for ______, not expanding the vote beyond white men. By the 1850s, about 55% of the adult __________ was eligible to vote in the U.S., much better than 6%, but far from everybody. Then, in 1861, the American Civil War began _______ over the issue of slavery and states' rights in the United States. When it was all over, the U.S. ratified the 15th Amendment, which ________ that a person's right to vote could not be denied based on race, color, or previous condition as a slave. This _____ that black men, newly affirmed as citizens of the U.S., would now be allowed to vote. Of course, laws are far from reality. Despite the promise of the 15th Amendment, intimidation kept African-Americans from exercising their voting rights. ______ passed laws that limited the ______ of African-Americans to vote, including things like literacy tests, which were rigged so that not even literate African-Americans were allowed to pass, and poll taxes. So, despite the 15th _________, by 1892, only about 6% of black men in Mississippi were registered to vote. By 1960, it was only 1%. And, of course, women were still totally out of the national voting picture. It wasn't until 1920 that the women's suffrage movement won their 30-year battle, and the 19th Amendment finally gave women the vote, well, _____ _____. The restrictions on African-Americans, _________ African-American women, ________. After _____ War II, many Americans _____ to question the _____ of U.S. democracy. How could a nation that fought for _______ and _____ rights abroad come home and deny suffrage based on race? The ______ civil rights ________ began in the 1940s with those questions in mind. After years of sacrifice, bloodshed, and pain, the United States ______ the Voting Rights Act of 1965, _______ ___________ restrictions such as literacy tests and protecting the voting rights promised under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Now, any _______ over the age of 21 could vote. All seemed well until the United States went to war. When the Vietnam War called up all men age 18 and over for the draft, many wondered whether it was fair to send men who couldn't vote to war. In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution made all citizens 18 and older eligible to vote, the last major expansion of voting rights in the United States. Today, the pool of eligible voters in the U.S. is far broader and more inclusive than ever before in U.S. history. But, of course, it's not perfect. There are still active _______ to suppress some groups from voting, and only about 60% of those who can vote do. Now that you know all the hard work that went into securing the right to vote, what do you think? Do enough ________ have the right to vote now? And among those who can vote, why don't more of them do it?

Solution

  1. women
  2. prides
  3. state
  4. movement
  5. eliminating
  6. frontier
  7. remained
  8. citizens
  9. polls
  10. electoral
  11. rights
  12. finally
  13. including
  14. universal
  15. president
  16. allowed
  17. freedom
  18. felon
  19. meant
  20. promised
  21. states
  22. modern
  23. human
  24. assuming
  25. began
  26. largely
  27. white
  28. years
  29. amendment
  30. efforts
  31. farmers
  32. world
  33. citizen
  34. population
  35. passed
  36. voting

Original Text

When the next general election rolls around, who will be eligible to show up at the polls and vote for the President of the United States? It's really pretty simple. If you are at least 18 years old, a citizen of the U.S., and a resident of a state, you can vote, assuming, that is, you are not a felon. Seems about right. After all, the United States prides itself on being a democracy, or a government in which the ultimate authority lies with the citizens of the nation. But it was not always this way. In 1789, George Washington won the electoral college with 100% of the vote, but whose vote was it? Probably not yours. Only 6% of the entire United States population was allowed to vote at all. Voting was a right that only white, male property owners were allowed to exercise. By the 1820s and 1830s, the American population was booming from the east coast into the western frontier. Frontier farmers were resilient, self-reliant, and mostly ineligible to vote because they did not own land. As these new areas of the nation became states, they typically left out the property requirement for voting. Leaders such as Andrew Jackson, the United State's first common man President, promoted what he called universal suffrage. Of course, by universal suffrage, Jackson really meant universal white, male suffrage. All he emphasized was getting rid of the property requirement for voting, not expanding the vote beyond white men. By the 1850s, about 55% of the adult population was eligible to vote in the U.S., much better than 6%, but far from everybody. Then, in 1861, the American Civil War began largely over the issue of slavery and states' rights in the United States. When it was all over, the U.S. ratified the 15th Amendment, which promised that a person's right to vote could not be denied based on race, color, or previous condition as a slave. This meant that black men, newly affirmed as citizens of the U.S., would now be allowed to vote. Of course, laws are far from reality. Despite the promise of the 15th Amendment, intimidation kept African-Americans from exercising their voting rights. States passed laws that limited the rights of African-Americans to vote, including things like literacy tests, which were rigged so that not even literate African-Americans were allowed to pass, and poll taxes. So, despite the 15th Amendment, by 1892, only about 6% of black men in Mississippi were registered to vote. By 1960, it was only 1%. And, of course, women were still totally out of the national voting picture. It wasn't until 1920 that the women's suffrage movement won their 30-year battle, and the 19th Amendment finally gave women the vote, well, white women. The restrictions on African-Americans, including African-American women, remained. After World War II, many Americans began to question the state of U.S. democracy. How could a nation that fought for freedom and human rights abroad come home and deny suffrage based on race? The modern civil rights movement began in the 1940s with those questions in mind. After years of sacrifice, bloodshed, and pain, the United States passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, finally eliminating restrictions such as literacy tests and protecting the voting rights promised under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Now, any citizen over the age of 21 could vote. All seemed well until the United States went to war. When the Vietnam War called up all men age 18 and over for the draft, many wondered whether it was fair to send men who couldn't vote to war. In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution made all citizens 18 and older eligible to vote, the last major expansion of voting rights in the United States. Today, the pool of eligible voters in the U.S. is far broader and more inclusive than ever before in U.S. history. But, of course, it's not perfect. There are still active efforts to suppress some groups from voting, and only about 60% of those who can vote do. Now that you know all the hard work that went into securing the right to vote, what do you think? Do enough citizens have the right to vote now? And among those who can vote, why don't more of them do it?

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
united states 6
voting rights 4
property requirement 2
states passed 2

Important Words

  1. act
  2. active
  3. adult
  4. affirmed
  5. age
  6. allowed
  7. amendment
  8. american
  9. americans
  10. andrew
  11. areas
  12. assuming
  13. authority
  14. based
  15. battle
  16. began
  17. black
  18. bloodshed
  19. booming
  20. broader
  21. called
  22. citizen
  23. citizens
  24. civil
  25. coast
  26. college
  27. color
  28. common
  29. condition
  30. constitution
  31. democracy
  32. denied
  33. deny
  34. draft
  35. east
  36. efforts
  37. election
  38. electoral
  39. eligible
  40. eliminating
  41. emphasized
  42. entire
  43. exercise
  44. exercising
  45. expanding
  46. expansion
  47. fair
  48. farmers
  49. felon
  50. finally
  51. fought
  52. freedom
  53. frontier
  54. gave
  55. general
  56. george
  57. government
  58. groups
  59. hard
  60. history
  61. home
  62. human
  63. ii
  64. including
  65. inclusive
  66. ineligible
  67. intimidation
  68. issue
  69. jackson
  70. land
  71. largely
  72. laws
  73. leaders
  74. left
  75. lies
  76. limited
  77. literacy
  78. literate
  79. major
  80. male
  81. man
  82. meant
  83. men
  84. mind
  85. mississippi
  86. modern
  87. movement
  88. nation
  89. national
  90. newly
  91. older
  92. owners
  93. pain
  94. pass
  95. passed
  96. perfect
  97. picture
  98. poll
  99. polls
  100. pool
  101. population
  102. president
  103. pretty
  104. previous
  105. prides
  106. promise
  107. promised
  108. promoted
  109. property
  110. protecting
  111. question
  112. questions
  113. race
  114. ratified
  115. reality
  116. registered
  117. remained
  118. requirement
  119. resident
  120. resilient
  121. restrictions
  122. rid
  123. rigged
  124. rights
  125. rolls
  126. sacrifice
  127. securing
  128. send
  129. show
  130. simple
  131. slave
  132. slavery
  133. state
  134. states
  135. suffrage
  136. suppress
  137. taxes
  138. tests
  139. today
  140. totally
  141. typically
  142. ultimate
  143. united
  144. universal
  145. vietnam
  146. vote
  147. voters
  148. voting
  149. war
  150. washington
  151. western
  152. white
  153. women
  154. won
  155. wondered
  156. work
  157. world
  158. years