Background on Significant election scene at Washington,D.C.
Title of Photo: Significant election scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867
Illustrator : A.W. M’Callum aka (Andrew McCallum)
Location City in Photo: Washington, D.C.
Date of Photo Scene: June 3, 1867
Date Published in Harper’s Weekly: June 22, 1867
Origins of the Photo: Started off as a wood engraving then got reproduced into print in Harper’s Weekly Magazine.
Type of Source: Primary Source
Significance of Photo:
On June 3, 1867, a municipal election was held in the nation’s capital of Washington City in which Harper’s Weekly reported that black voters began lining up at two a.m. to wait for the polls to open. The accompanying illustration showed a black man voting and a black man as one of the election judges.
General Summary of Photo: Black and white men observed each other, while standing in line together preparing to place ballots into box of 1867 election.
Questions about the Illustration
(1) How/When/Where/ Why was this source created?
Answer: The title of the illustration was Significant Election Scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867 and the illustrator was A.W. M’Callum aka (Andrew McCallum). This illustration started off as a wood engraving, which eventually turned in a printed image in the Harper’s Weekly newspaper. The printer illustration depicted the June 3, 1867 election in Washington D.C. , though the illustration did not make Harper’s Weekly newspaper until June 22, 1867. This illustration was made because on June 3, 1867, a municipal election was held in the nation’s capital of Washington City in which Harper’s Weekly reported that black voters began lining up at two a.m. to wait for the polls to open. The illustration showed a black man voting and a black man as one of the election judges., The illustration basically acknowledge the scene of the second election in which African-Americans and white men observed each other; while black men and white men, stand in line to prepare to place their ballots into box of 1867 election.
(2) Explain how the source can be used?
Answer: This illustration can be used as a “historical breakthrough” in which this election was an opportunity for African-Americans who since leaving slavery, failed to have a chance at education and voting to be able exercise their “rights as citizens” of the United States. The African-Americans wanted the privilege that white men had, which was through the power of the right to “vote” in general elections. This illustration shows the power of the Constitution, through The 15th Amendment which stated the following:
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.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation
Thus,The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that 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.” This source can be used as learning tool for people in general, not just people of color, that the right to vote is one of the most cherished rights of citizenship in the United States and the basis of our democratic form of government. Voting is “a fundamental political right, because preservative of all rights.”Also this source shows that throughout our history, too many Americans have been denied that basic right. Women and African Americans in the early part of the 20th century, African Americans in the 1960s and Latinos in the 1970s, Native Americans in the 1920s and Asian Americans following World War II all had to fight to be included in the American polity.
(3) Any unanswered questions about the source ?
The African – Americans in this image were not slaves at the time. These were “freedmen” that were illustrated in a Washington, D.C. polling place as both voters and staff. Also, this image acknowledges the presence of only African – American and Caucasian men at the Election of 1867. At this time period,there was still a left out demographic which was women.Women had not been given the right until the birth of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.
(4) Any additional informational that is relevant to source?
- The illustration’s excerpt in Harper’s Weekly newspaper stated the following:
THE WASHINGTON ELECTION
Washington City witnessed, on June 3, another curious scene illustrative of the progressive spirit of the times. For the second time in its history the colored citizens assisted in the municipal election. We give on this page a view atone of the polling-places at which a negro man was one of the Judges, and from all accounts a smart one he proved. In fact the whole colored race in Washington appears to have appreciated its privilege on this occasion. The colored men gathered in long lines before the polls as early as two o’clock on the morning of the election,and waited patiently for an opportunity to vote.Many who entered the line before sunrise, did not get their vote deposited until a short time before the polls closed. Very few whites voted, and the Republican ticket was elected by a large majority.
- Within the Constitution, although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.
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McCallum, Andrew. Significant Election Scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867. Digital image. Library of Congress. USA.gov, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/907157>.
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“19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920).” Our Documents –. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=63>.