This essay argues that the Nineteenth Amendment can best be understood in terms of the Fifteenth Amendment and perhaps even as the fourth Reconstruction Amendment. It is now well understood, at least among historians, that the Nineteenth Amendment did not enfranchise black women in the South, nor other women of color, but the specifics of how and why that came to be the case are less well known. After the passage of woman suffrage in New York in 1917, Congressional opponents of women voting narrowed in on the Nineteenth Amendment’s relationship to the Fifteenth as the main source of contention. Congressional leaders objected to the Nineteenth Amendment not only because they did not want black women in the South to vote but also because they feared that the Nineteenth Amendment would bring increased attention to voting rights and compel the federal government to enforce the Fifteenth, which it had not done since the Compromise of 1877.
Kimberly A. Hamlin, PhD, The Nineteenth Amendment: The Fourth Reconstruction Amendment?, 11 ConLawNOW 103 (2020).