February 3: The 15th Amendment and 16th Amendment
Two Amendments were ratified on February 3rd: the 15th Amendment in 1870 and the 16th Amendment in 1913. The 15th Amendment aimed to grant black male citizens the right to vote: “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Still, policies such as poll taxes and literacy tests impeded black citizens’ abilities to vote for almost a century until the 24th Amendment in 1964 Voting Rights Act in 1965.
The 16th Amendment established a federal income tax, which shortly became the government’s main source of revenue. It states, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” This Amendment contributed to the increasing power of the federal government.