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This is Elisa Hyder and Natasha Ashby. We did our commercial about Guinn vs. United states. In that case the grandfather law was mentioned because it supported the case. In our commercial we speak about the grandfather clause and how it affected Guinn and his fight against the United States. We demonstrate pictures of the case and of Guinn himself.

Summary: The grandfather clause was intended to keep African Americans from voting, and it was added in some southern state constitutions after the 15th Amendment was ratified and the literacy test requirement was put in place. Oklahoma's “grandfather clause” stated that “no person who was, on Jan 1, 1866, or at any time prior thereto, under any form of government, or who at that time resided in some foreign nation, and no lineal descendant of such person shall be denied the right to vote because of his inability to read and write sections [of the state constitution]”Basically if the person's grandfather could vote, he could also without any restrictions and get away with not complying with the literacy test requirement that was in place. This clause worked out very well for southerners because nearly all slaves and their descendants were disqualified from voting because they could not meet the requirements. The Supreme Court said that the clause was in violation of the 15th amendment, which stated that no person would be denied the chance to vote. Also, the Supreme Court made the point that it was racist because it was mostly African Americans who could not vote because their ancestors were slaves.
In 1913, two men, Frank Guinn and J. J. Beal, decided to bring up a case to the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs claimed, “The federal government had been wrong to prosecute those two Oklahoma election officials for enforcing an Oklahoma voting regulation that became known as the "grandfather clause.” Oklahoma argued that since the states had power to set voters’ qualifications, the clause did not violate the 15th Amendment. They also argued that race was not mentioned as a voter qualification. The Supreme Court agreed with that, but they also said that the state government is only allowed to determine who is qualified to vote within constitutional limits. In 1915, a decision was made: the Oklahoma voting regulation did in fact violate the fifteenth Amendment and unconstitutionally deprived African Americans of the right to vote. The 15th amendment states, “The right of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by an State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” and, “The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” So, because the Supreme Court believed that the “grandfather clause” contradicted this by making it almost impossible for African Americans to vote, they decided to strike it down.

Relating to liberty and equality: The goal of the 15th Amendment was to give people, regardless of their race, color or previous servitude, the chance to vote. Just from knowing this, the presence of equally is evident. However, when states like Oklahoma decided to add different parts to their state constitutions such as the grandfather clause, it made the goal of the 15th Amendment almost unreachable. Thus, the fight between those who support equality in voting and those who oppose equality. So, the topic of liberty and equality was a huge part of Guinn v. United States.
Also, this trial was a big milestone for equality because it was the first time that the Supreme Court unanimously denied a state law that disfranchised African Americans. They say that the first time doing something is the hardest, so it must have gotten easier as time went on for the Supreme Court do make such a decision. Also, people actually had something to look at to base a defense or prosecution on. It just made it easier for people to make a case to defend equality and give everyone the liberties and rights they deserve.
And here is the commercail