grandfather clause

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grandfather clause

n.
1. A provision in a statute that exempts an activity or item from new regulations that would otherwise prevent engagement in that activity or use of that item.
2. A clause in some southern state constitutions that exempted descendants of persons allowed to vote prior to the Civil War from subsequent voting restrictions, meaning that such restrictions disfranchised many African Americans while not applying to many whites.

grandfather clause

n
1. (Historical Terms) history US a clause in the constitutions of several Southern states that waived electoral literacy requirements for lineal descendants of people voting before 1867, thus ensuring the franchise for illiterate White people: declared unconstitutional in 1915
2. (Law) a clause in legislation that forbids or regulates an activity so that those engaged in it are exempted from the ban

grand′father clause`


n.
1. a clause in the constitutions of some Southern states before 1915 intended to permit whites to vote while disfranchising blacks: it exempted the descendants of those who voted before 1867 from new rigid qualifications.
2. any legal provision that exempts a business, class of persons, etc., from a new regulation that would affect prior rights and privileges.
[1895–1900, Amer.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.grandfather clause - an exemption based on circumstances existing prior to the adoption of some policy; used to enfranchise illiterate whites in south after the American Civil War
exemption, freedom - immunity from an obligation or duty
References in periodicals archive ?
Coulter's tweet on Monday alluded to - whether inadvertently, it's not clear - the use of (http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/10/21/239081586/the-racial-history-of-the-grandfather-clause) Grandfather Clauses across the American south during the Reconstruction Era, a means of disenfranchising former slaves by allowing men to vote only if they had been able to vote or were descendants of voters several years before the passage of the 15th Amendment.
"Dealers want us to ship new orders before the laws 'take effect.' Other dealers say we can ship orders that they placed before the changes because of grandfather clauses. We don't want to break any laws, and we don't want our dealers or their customers to get in trouble."
White officials used all kinds of devices to keep blacks from voting, including literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clauses (requiring proof that one's father and grandfather had been eligible to vote), intimidation, and outright violence.