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Because the Civil War had just ended and even though Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves, the question of their full citizenship was still unresolved even among the member states of the Union. Meanwhile, the recent mass immigration of Irish to the United States, followed by Italians in the latter decades of the century caused much concern among the citizens of the United States because they felt that Irish and Italians were basically foreigners who did not know enough about this country to be allowed the full voting rights of citizens. Also, the suffrage movement was just getting under way and America was still a male dominated country where the idea of women having equal rights, especially voting rights, was a hotly debated topic.
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