grandfather clause

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From late 19th-century legislation and constitutional amendments passed by a number of U.S. Southern states, which created new literacy and property restrictions on voting, but exempted those whose grandfathers had the right to vote before the Civil War. The intent and effect of such rules was to prevent poor and illiterate African American former slaves and their descendants from voting, but without denying poor and illiterate whites the right to vote.

Noun[edit]

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grandfather clause ‎(plural grandfather clauses)

  1. A clause or section, especially in a law, granting exceptions for people or organisations who were affected by previous conditions.
    Many building codes include a grandfather clause exempting older buildings until some amount of remodeling occurs.

Derived terms[edit]