Who had voting rights in the American colonies?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Voting began early in the British colonies.  Settlers in both Jamestown and Plymouth Colony voted on various local issues.  Most of the settlers were white men, and they were the only ones allowed to vote.

As the colonies became more established, voting continued.  Men voted for legislators to serve in local assemblies.  The colonies were still ruled by England until the end of the Revolutionary War, so they participated by voting at the local level only.

Both in the Thirteen English Colonies and in the early United States of America, very few people could vote.  In fact, the only people who were allowed to vote were white men who owned land and were over the age of 21.  This excluded women, African Americans, younger men, and white older men who were not landowners.