Meet Maine Here.
The Maine Story
Constitutions, Abolition, and Women’s Rights
“The right is ours. Have it we must. Use it we will.”Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1848
Maine’s Constitution, patterned after that of Massachusetts, used the word “male” to describe who could vote for governor, senators, and representatives. Because of that language, women would be able to vote for those officials only if there were a constitutional amendment.
The document also denied voting rights to “Indians not taxed” – meaning “tribal” Indians or those who lived on reservations and therefore were not considered U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Constitution left regulation of voting to the states – until after the Civil War.
The second section of the 14th amendment, adopted in 1868, inserted “male” into the U.S. Constitution for the first time. It effectively gave voting rights to black men – and gave the federal government control over some aspects of voting.
To make clear what the 14th Amendment hinted at, the 15th amendment, adopted in 1870, clearly stated that the right to vote cannot be denied on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. This guarantee of voting rights to black men, instead of to all people, caused division and controversy among supporters of voting rights for women.