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Voting Restrictions in a “Democratic” United States

Cartoon - Bosses of the Senate by Joseph Keppler
Lesson Plan Author(s): 
Katie Jeter & Celena Otcasek
Voting Restrictions
Teaching Area: 
U.S. Studies from 1492 to 1877: Exploration through Reconstruction
ONLS 8.16; CCSS 68.6
Grade Level: 
Teaching Level: 
Middle Childhood
Origins Item(s): 

This lesson is for 8th grade student who have completed their units on the Civil War and Reconstruction. The goal of this lesson is for students to analyze the historical context of voter restrictions and to make connections to current day examples of voting rights restrictions. Students will learn about the history of literacy tests, take a sample literacy test used to restrict voting rights of American Americans, and conclude the lesson with a discussion analyzing voter restrictions within a country founded on democratic principles. 

Files for download:



Key Words: 
voting rights, Reconstruction, literacy tests