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frankzappa

Usage of "left–right" politics & Suffrage

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Usage of "left–right" politics
The modern American political spectrum and the usage of the terms "left–right politics", "liberalism", and "conservatism" in the United States differs from that of the rest of the world. According to American historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (writing in 1956), "Liberalism in the American usage has little in common with the word as used in the politics of any European country, save possibly Britain". Liberalism in Canada also has a similar usage as in the United States. Schlesinger noted that American liberalism does not support classical liberalism's commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economics. Because those two positions are instead generally supported by American conservatives, historian Leo P. Ribuffo noted in 2011, "what Americans now call conservatism much of the world calls liberalism or neoliberalism."

In American politics, the Democratic Party is commonly known as the dominant center-left liberal national party, while the smaller Green Party is known for being closer to the progressive anti-capitalist left-wing of modern American politics. The Republican Party is commonly known as the dominant right-wing national party, and the alternative Libertarian Party attracts some independent-leaning voters who tend to be more social liberal on social issues and fiscally conservative on economic policy.

Suffrage
The right of suffrage is nearly universal for citizens eighteen years of age and older. All states and the District of Columbia contribute to the electoral vote for president. However, the District, and other U.S. holdings like Puerto Rico and Guam, lack federal representation in Congress. These constituencies do not have the right to choose any political figure outside their respective areas. Each commonwealth, territory, or district can only elect a non-voting delegate to serve in the House of Representatives.

Women's suffrage became an important issue after the American Civil War of 1861-65. After the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870, giving African-American men the right to vote, various women's groups wanted the right to vote as well. Two major interest groups formed. The first group was the National Woman Suffrage Association, formed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, that wanted to work for suffrage on the federal level and to push for more governmental changes, such as the granting of property rights to married women.  The second group, the American Woman Suffrage Association formed by Lucy Stone, aimed to give women the right to vote. In 1890, the two groups merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The NAWSA then mobilized to obtain support state-by-state, and by 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote although universal suffrage was only realised in 1964 with the 24th Amendment to the Constitution.

Student activism against the Vietnam War in the 1960s prompted the passage of the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen, the legal age of the draft.

wikipedia.org

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