U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 17: Elections and Voting

Chapter Overviews

A successful democracy is based on an informed electorate that is influenced by many factors. Chapter 17 focuses on this electorate, election campaigns, and the right to vote.

Section 1 describes election campaigns. Candidates for president begin organizing their campaigns almost one year before the election. Running for political office takes extensive party support, in part because it is very expensive.

Section 2 relates the history of voting rights in the United States. Before the American Revolution, eligible voters in the colonies included only 5 or 6 percent of the adult population. By the mid-1800s, the nation had granted universal white male suffrage. The Fifteenth Amendment gave African American males the right to vote in 1870. The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. With the passing of the Twenty-sixth Amendment, citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 also could vote.

Section 3 discusses the influences on voters. These influences include the personal background of the voter, the voter's loyalty to a political party, the issues of the campaign, a voter's image of the candidate, and propaganda.

US Government: Democracy In Action
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