The Fifteenth Amendment
Following the Civil War, Congress passed and the states ratified the Fifteenth Amendment. It prohibited states from denying citizens the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," although women were excluded from the privilege. The language was a compromise between radical and moderate Republicans during Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. Many Southern states, however, found ways to evade its intent through intimidation, poll taxes, literacy tests, or other means of denying suffrage.