Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Purdue University Purdue Logo Purdue Libraries

Civics Literacy Study & Resource Guide

Supplemental Resource Guide for the Civics Literacy Proficiency Program

The Role of Citizens in American Democracy 

U.S. Constitution 

The U.S. Constitution includes amendments regarding citizenship and participation of citizens in politics. Some examples include: 

Fourteenth Amendment

Granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (From the Library of Congress)

Fifteenth Amendment

Granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote. (From the Library of Congress

Nineteenth Amendment 

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. ( From the National Archives)

Twenty Sixth Amendment 

Passed by Congress March 23, 1971, and ratified July 1, 1971, the 26th amendment granted the right to vote to American citizens aged eighteen or older. (From the National Archives)

Voting and Elections

Voting and Elections 

In the American Democracy, citizens are granted the right to vote for elected representatives in government positions. You can learn more about voting through the following resources: 

Researching Issues and Candidates

Researching Issues and Candidates

Library Resources
Voter Guides
Research Tools

Other Forms of Civic Participation

Other Forms of Civic Participation 


Form of civic action and commitment that demonstrates a willingness to make positive contributions to society. The following provides resources for how to get involved in Indiana and Tippecanoe County.