Property Qualifications

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PROPERTY QUALIFICATIONS. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which took effect on 23 January 1964, outlawed property qualifications for voting in federal elections by abolishing all poll or other taxes as requirements for voting. In 1966, the Supreme Court extended this prohibition to state elections when it held, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, that state poll taxes violated the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. At the time of the American Revolution, almost all states had property requirements for voting. In the early nineteenth century newly admitted western states imposed few property requirements, and the eastern states moved to reduce their impediments to voting. By the time of the Civil War, the states had eliminated nearly all property requirements for voting. But, after the Civil War, many southern states reenacted poll taxes in order to disfranchise African Americans.


Kousser, Morgan. The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880–1910. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1974.

Rogers, Donald W., ed. Voting and the Spirit of American Democracy: Essays on the History of Voting and Voting Rights in America. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Williamson, Chilton. American Suffrage from Property to Democracy, 1760–1860. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960.

John H.Fenton/c. p.

See alsoSolid South ; State Constitutions ; Suffrage .

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Property Qualifications

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