- a former law in some Southern states waiving electoral literacy requirements for those whose forebears voted before the Civil War, thus keeping the franchise for illiterate whites
- a clause in some legislation forbidding or regulating a certain activity, which exempts those already engaged in it before the legislation was passed
See grandfather clause in American Heritage Dictionary 4
- A provision in a statute that exempts those already involved in a regulated activity or business from the new regulations established by the statute.
- A clause in the constitutions of several southern states before the year 1915, intended to disfranchise African Americans by exempting from stringent voting requirements all lineal descendants of persons who were registered voters before 1867.
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