What were some of the arguments for and against voting rights for African Americans at the time of the ratification of the 15th Amendment?
The major arguments for voting rights for African Americans were based on ideas of fairness and democracy. With the Civil War over, blacks were now citizens of the United States. Supporters of the Amendment argued that it was neither fair nor proper to deny some citizens of a democracy the right to vote solely on the basis of race.
The arguments against voting rights for African Americans had to do with racism and with ideas about who was fit to vote. Many whites thought that blacks should not be enslaved at the same time that they thought blacks were too inferior to be allowed to vote. Even those who did not say blacks were innately inferior argued that the freed slaves typically had little or no education and were therefore not capable of casting informed votes.