Login

The 24th Amendment: Definition, Summary, History & Court Cases

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The 26th Amendment: Definition, History, Facts & Court Cases

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Is the 24th Amendment?
  • 0:35 History of the 24th Amendment
  • 2:20 Court Cases Affecting…
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Andrea Stephenson

Andrea has a Juris Doctor and has spoken at legal conferences on government transparency.

This lesson discusses the 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Additionally, this lesson will summarize the history behind the amendment and a couple of significant U.S. Supreme Court cases which the amendment influenced.

What Is the 24th Amendment?

Imagine it's your first time to vote in a national election and how excited you are to finally be able to finally take part! You walk up to your voting precinct, and you're told that you must pay a tax in order to vote. Do you pay the tax? Or, do you say no thanks and not vote? This is the situation that affected some voters before the 24th Amendment was passed.

The 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America abolished the poll tax for all federal elections. A poll tax was a tax of anywhere from one to a few dollars that had to be paid annually by each voter in order to be able to cast a vote.

History of the 24th Amendment

After Congress passed the 15th Amendment, which afforded the right to vote to all men, there was opposition, especially in the South. In an effort to deter African-American voters, many Southern states enacted poll taxes. However, poll taxes also deterred poor white voters.

Legislation to end poll taxes began to be introduced every year in Congress, beginning in 1939. Many members of Congress suggested that poll taxes could be outlawed under the 14th Amendment, which abolished slavery by giving equal rights to all men, or the 15th Amendment. However, it was decided that drafting an amendment that specifically made poll taxes illegal would be a stronger statement and have more far-reaching effects.

Finally, on August 27, 1962, after approximately 23 years of trying to pass legislation, the 24th Amendment was passed by Congress by a vote of 295 to 86. At that time, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas were the only states with poll taxes, but Congress still deemed it necessary because poll taxes were previously deemed constitutional by the U.S. Courts.

After the amendment was passed by Congress, it was submitted to the states for ratification. Ratification is the process where the states each approve the constitutional amendment via the respective state's ratification procedures. In order for the amendment to be passed by the states, three-quarters of the states, or 38 states, had to ratify it. On January 23, 1964, South Dakota became the 38th state to ratify the 24th Amendment. After ratification, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 24th Amendment into existence on February 4, 1964.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support