Happy birthday, 26th Amendment!

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the 26th Amendment (ratified July 1, 1971). Here’s what you need to know:


The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old.


With the draft during the Vietnam War came increasing pressure to lower the voting age. If they were old enough to go to war, young people argued, they were old enough to choose the leaders with the power to send them to war.

Congress proposed the 26th Amendment on March 23, 1971. The amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the states on July 1, 1971. It was the most quickly ratified amendment.


Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Civic holidays are occasions to commemorate America’s history, celebrate our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and learn about our constitutional ideals. Download a PDF of the 2013 Civic Calendar here.

Holly Munson is the assistant editor of Constitution Daily.