By the end of Reconstruction, what means were used to disenfranchise African Americans?

1 Answer
Jun 23, 2017

Some of the means used were poll taxes, literacy tests, and the grandparent requirements


In order to prevent the former slaves from voting the former slave owners used a variety of means.

In many southern states like South Carolina the former slaves outnumbered the white population. This resulted in black republicans being elected to congress. To prevent themselves from being outvoted means were devised to prevent blacks from voting.

One means was the poll tax. A small fee was required to be able to vote. Many former slaves were sharecropping. They received a credit from local stores based on the harvest. These share cropper did not receive any cash and were unable to pay the poll tax.

Another means was a literacy test. In many southern states it was against the law to teach slaves how to read. After the Civil War educational opportunities for former slaves were very limited.
By requiring a potential voter to pass a literacy test made it difficult for many illiterate blacks to be able to vote.

The final effort was to require proof of citizenship by asking for proof that a person's grandparents had been US citizens. As slaves the blacks had been denied citizenship. It was impossible for most exslaves to prove citizenship.

All of these means were successful in preventing blacks from voting and the after reconstruction the white elite were able to regain politcal power.