Who Can Vote? Voting Rights in 1828 America.

This list appeared in an August 1828 edition of Freedom’s Journal. Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks. From the beginning the editors felt, “…that a paper devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge among our brethren, and to their moral and religious improvement, must meet with the cordial approbation of every friend to humanity…”

The complete run of Freedom’s Journal appears in our African American Newspapers collection. Access to this, and other collections, is now available through a Personal Subscription.


  • In New Hampshire – every male inhabitant 21 years of age three months in the state – students, paupers, &c. excepted.
  • In Massachusetts – every male citizen, (papers and persons under guardianship excepted,; one year in the state and six months in the town or township where he offers to vote, having paid a tax within two years, unless exempted therefrom by law.
  • In Rhode Island; No constitution; By charter of Charles II all freemen vote.
  • In Connecticut; Every white male citizen having a legal residence for six months, with a freehold of seven dollars per annum and every white male enrolled in the militia one year, or being exempted from military duty by law having paid a state tax within the year, and of good moral character.
  • In Vermont; Every man of quiet and peaceable behaviour, one year in the state.
  • In New Jersey; All inhabitants 12 months residence, worth a clear estate of L50 proclamation money.
  • In Pennsylvania – Every freeman who has resided two years in the state, and paid a tax: and the sons of such between 21 and 22 without the payment of a tax.
  • In Maryland – All free white males 21 years of age, having resided one year in the state, and six months in the county.
  • In North Carolina – All freemen with a freehold of 50 acres, and a resident of one year for senators and all freemen resident 12 months, having paid taxes, for members of the house of the house of commons.
  • In South Carolina – Every free white citizen having resided two years in the state, with a freehold of 50 acres, or town lot possessed for six months; or not having such freehold, or lot, a residence of six months in the election district where he offers to vote and the payment of a tax within the year of three shillings sterling towards the support of the state government.
  • In Georgia; All citizens and inhabitants, who have paid the taxes required of them, and resided six months where they vote.
  • In Louisiana – Every free white male citizen, residing therein one year, having paid a tax or being a freeholder.
  • In Kentucky – All free white male citizens, two years in the state, and one in the country where they vote.
  • In Ohio – Every white male inhabitant, one year therein, and having paid a state or county tax.
  • In Tennessee – Every freeman an inhabitant of the state, if a freeholder, may vote in the county where the freehold lies without being a resident thereof if not possessed of a freehold he must have resided six months where he offers to vote.
  • In Mississippi – Every free white male person one year in the state and six months in the county, serving in the militia or paying tax.
  • In Illinois – white male inhabitants six months in the state.
  • In Missouri – All free white male citizens, one year in the state, and three months in the county.
  • In Alabama – Every white male of lawful age having resided one year in the state, and three months in the county.
  • In Indiana – All white male citizens one year in the state.
  • In New York – Every male citizen of the age of 21 years, one year in the state, and six months in the town or county where he offers to vote, having paid a tax within the year, or legally served as a militiaman or fireman – or labored upon the public high ways, &c.
  • In Maine; Every freeman having his residence established three months before the election ; students, paupers, &c. excepted.
  • In Virginia; Fifty acres or unimproved land in the county, or twenty-five acres of land a house on it, held for or free sample, qualify a man to vote in the county where the land lies; provided said land has been owned by him six months before the election , or has descended to him, or come by marriage or gift. An improved lot in any corporate town, with a dwelling house of a certain size thereon. A person owning land as above, in different counties, may vote in each county for delegates, but can only give one vote for a senator, or for a member of congress, in the same district.

In every case voters are required to be citizens of the United States, by birth or naturalization.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Freedom’s Journal
Date: August 22, 1828
Title: Votes In The Several States
Location: New York, New York

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