First Vote

Don DeBats, Sarah John, Morgan Tompkins, Catherine Cartwright

Research output: Other contribution


FirstVote celebrates the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, the Civil War amendment that enfranchised African American men Certified on March 30, 1870, the 15th was for many years praised as “the greatest gain of the Civil War.”

This website presents evidence of the contrasting impact of the 15th Amendment on two Kentucky counties, both with long histories of black enslavement.

The right of African American men to vote was the whole point of the 15th Amendment. Ironically, little is known about its impact because summary election returns cannot be broken down by race. Did African American men vote? How did black voting change across time? What caused this change? Which parties and candidates did African Americans support? How did the African American votes make a difference to election outcomes?
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputWebsite
PublisherThe Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Place of PublicationCharlottesville, VA
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • Civil War amendment
  • Voting
  • suffrage
  • African American men
  • Civil and political rights


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