Of the United States was born ineligible to vote until 90 years ago today, when the Tennessee state legislature ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. See this piece for a more interesting description of the occasion.
To our 21st century mindset it seems incomprehensible, but for the great majority of the nation’s 234 years most of the adult population was barred from political action due to discrimination by sex or by race. It would be another 45 years after the 19th Amendment before the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 would extend the ability to vote to minorities in large sections of the country.
A large part of personal autonomy is the ability to make meaningful choices in one’s life, and few seem as fundamental as the right to select our political leaders. At least we know that this way, we ultimately get the government we deserve (with apologies to Josef Heller).