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grandfather clause

U.S. History. a clause in the constitutions of some Southern states after 1890 intended to permit whites to vote while disfranchising blacks: it exempted from new literacy and property qualifications for voting those men entitled to vote before 1867 and their lineal descendants.
any legal provision that exempts a business, class of persons, etc., from a new government regulation that would affect prior rights and privileges.
Origin of grandfather clause
1895-1900, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for grandfather clause
  • Surprisingly, the changes signed last month establishing the tuition cap failed to include a grandfather clause.
  • Supports grandfather clause and urges the board to determine an implementation date.
  • The statute also exempts, under a grandfather clause, certain long-term license holders from potential license revocation.
  • The revised statutes made the operation of certain machines illegal unless exempted by a grandfather clause under the statute.
British Dictionary definitions for grandfather clause

grandfather clause

(US, history) 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
a clause in legislation that forbids or regulates an activity so that those engaged in it are exempted from the ban
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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