Today, we’re looking at the Twenty-sixth Amendment as we work our way through the Constitution and its amendments.
This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This amendment was conceived, passed by Congress, and ratified during the Vietnam War. A bandwagon effect was created by the argument that 18 year-olds were being drafted and forced to serve in a war zone and they should have the right to have a say in our government, which was a complete non sequitur.
To serve as a soldier in the military does not require a lot of independent thinking or wisdom. It requires following orders. To cast an intelligent vote requires both wisdom and independent thinking, tempered by a level of maturity few 18 year-olds have.
As with several other 20th century amendments, this was passed at a time when the Democrat Party pretty much had a stranglehold on government. They controlled the House and the Senate and a majority of state governments, which gave them the power to ram this amendment through. They were upset by the fact that Richard Nixon had been elected President, and they figured they could sway the votes of a bunch of impressionable teenagers, so they rushed this amendment to passage before anyone really thought it through.
What do you think about entrusting the future of our nation and its government to a bunch of teenagers who are barely out of high school and have no life experience to guide them in their decisions?
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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