Lowering the Voting Age Suffrage Is the Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Lowering the Voting Age

Suffrage is the right to vote through the democratic process. Contemporary readers typically believe that everyone who is an adult citizen in the United States has always had the right to vote. However, it was not until 1870 that race, color, or former slaves could vote; not until 1920 that women could vote; and not until 1971 that citizens 18 years or older could vote. Essentially, from a socio-political viewpoint, the right to vote based on the Constitution prohibits legal discrimination for race, color, gender, or age; States may, in fact, deny the process of voting for other reasons (Voting Rights Struggle, 2010). The last major piece of legislation, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, was quickly passed during the height of the Vietnam Conflict, when many found a great deal of psychological and moral hypocrisy in sending 18-year-olds to fight a war, but denying them the right to vote. Most recently, the question of lowering the voting age to 16 has become quite controversial. This paper will focus on the basic question surrounding the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 -- psychological and psycho-social maturity.

On one side of the argument, proponents for lowering the voting age posit that just like all Americans, teenagers pay taxes -- an estimated $10 billion per annum. Most (about 80%) teens 16-18 do have jobs, the license to drive, and are granted the responsibilities of living under the laws of society. Politicians are often dismayed by a lack of empathy in the "youth vote," but how passionate can young people be if they are denied a basic right? Indeed, most 16- to 18-year-olds are a part of their community, have vested interests in improving that community, and are being challenged to become global citizens -- the right and responsibility of voting ensures that this responsibility is sincere and psychologically empowering. Buttressing the psychological argument, lowing the voting age is likely to have a positive effect on the character, sense of responsibility, and expectations of intelligence for 16- to 18-year-olds. Finally, age 16 is a magic age of consent -- society has deemed the person to be psychologically competent -- they can marry, leave school, become independent -- all part of being an adult. Restricting voting, then,…

Sources Used in Document:


Arguments: Voting Age Reduced to 16. (2010). Citizenship Foundation. Retrieved from:


Top Ten Reasons to Lower the Voting Age. (2012). National Youth Rights Organization.

Retrieved from: http://www.youthrights.org/vote10.php

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