Select Page

Protecting civil rights in a democratic society is essential. There has been a long and continuing struggle to achieve equality in America. There has been great progress but perhaps there is more to be accomplished. The recent anniversary of the march in Selma, Alabama brings many of these issues to light.Essay Question (400 words):Since the 1960s, civil rights protection has expanded well beyond racial discrimination as evidenced by Jim Crow segregation and the subsequent fight for equal protection of the law for all. What others groups in America were inspired by the Civil Rights Movement seeking protections and equal treatment under the law? What have been some of the notable effects of this “universalization of civil rights” as explained in the Chapter? Examine some (if any) of the differences between protections against racial discrimination and other types of discrimination such as those based on gender or other characteristics as the United States Supreme Court just recently decided regarding marriage rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Political Science Essay and Dicussion Post
Just from $10/Page
Order Essay

Chapter 5
Civil Rights
Civil Rights
The Struggle for Civil Rights
Struggle for Civil Rights
• Civil rights: rights guaranteed to all American
citizens by law; usually refers to social freedoms
and equal treatment under the law.
– All American citizens have civil rights (not merely
minority groups).
• Often understood in terms of groups whose civil
rights were recognized by the U.S. government
only after legal and political actions secured them.
Struggle for Civil Rights
• Formal, legal inequalities existed uncomfortably
with America’s value of equality for all since the
nation’s founding.
• Full benefits of citizenship were limited.
– Race, sex, age, wealth, national origin most clearly
Struggle for Civil Rights
• The concept of “equal rights” poses complicated
legal and policy questions.
– Does treating people in the exact same manner mean
we are treating them equally?
– How do we address real differences, as with biological
distinctions between men and women, and preserve
– How do we address past legally mandated
discrimination in policy?
Struggle for Civil Rights
• Discrimination: use of any unreasonable and
unjust criterion of exclusion
• Formal, legal discrimination against blacks and
women was contested, but persisted.
– Abolitionist movement
– Suffrage movement
Struggle for Civil Rights
• The subjugation of blacks and women was
political, economic, and social in nature.
• Voting, property ownership, employment, and
social/public opportunities were sharply limited
compared to white and male counterparts.
• White women had significantly more legal rights
than black men or black women.
– Supreme Court held white women’s rights existed
The Civil War Amendments to the
The Civil War Amendments to the
Thirteenth Amendment: abolished slavery
Fourteenth Amendment: guaranteed equal
protection under the law
Fifteenth Amendment: guaranteed voting rights for
black men
Separate But Equal
• The Supreme Court initially interpreted the
Fourteenth Amendment very narrowly.
– Ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional for
targeting private actions.
– Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) upheld the concept of
separate but equal
Organizing for Equality
Organizing for Equality
– Raised funds for legal challenges to Jim Crow
– Helped bring northern blacks into political system
• NAWSA and National Women’s Party
– Brought suffrage onto the public agenda
• Securing formal rights required 100+ years of
challenges to discriminatory laws.
– Organizational, strategic efforts
– Courts, public opinion, and lawmakers all levels
Experiences with Integration
• Integrated WWII military shapes the civil rights
movements in the United States.
– Black American troops desegregated in1948
– Latinos (largely Mexican American) served in
integrated units.
• Black and Latino soldiers return to United States
– Feel vested, earned, proven “full Americans”
– Expect/prefer integration, equal protection now
– Broadens public support/demand for civil rights
Social Protest and Congressional
Brown v. Board (1954)
• Unanimous Supreme Court decision
• Landmark because overturns Plessy separate but
equal doctrine that sanctioned segregation
• Determined separate but equal in schooling
inherently unequal because predicated on the
idea of racial superiority
Civil Rights After Brown
• Government discrimination on the basis of race
must pass strict scrutiny legal standard.
– Is the program a compelling state interest?
– Is it as narrowly tailored as possible?
Peaceful Civil Rights Demonstrations,
Voting Rights Act of 1965
• Made interference with the right to vote on the
basis of race a federal issue
• Bans literacy tests
• Pre-clearance requirements for specific states and
regions due to extensive record of
disenfranchisement policies and/or attempts
Impact of Voting Rights Act on
Women and Gender Discrimination
Women and Civil Rights
• Women and Gender Discrimination
– Equal Rights Amendment
– Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools (1992)
– United States v. Virginia (1996)
– Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986)
Have Women Achieved Equal Rights?
% of members of Congress and state legislatures
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau,; Center for American Women and Politics, (accessed 7/18/12).
% of members of Congress and state legislatures
Congress 4%
Congress 2%
State Legislatures 11%
Congress 2%
State Legislatures 17%
Congress 6%
State Legislatures 23%
Congress 13%
State Legislatures 25%
Congress 17%
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau,; Center for American Women and Politics, (accessed 7/18/12).
Women’s Income as a Percentage of Men’s
Weekly earnings, by occupation, 2010
Men: $1,568
Women: $923
Office / Sales
Men: $736
Women: $597
Men: $1,065
Women: $862
Men: $543
Women: $423
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau,; Center for American Women and Politics, (accessed 7/18/12).
Men: $640
Women: $473
Latinos and Civil Rights
• Education
– Mendez v. Westminster (1947)
– Bilingual education
• Immigration as Civil Rights Issue
– California Proposition 187 (1994)
– Arizona SB 1070 (2010)
• American citizens of Latino origin suspect class claims
• Supreme Court upholds/strikes down parts (2012)
Asian Americans
Asian Americans and Civil Rights
• Asian Americans
– 1870, Congress declares Chinese ineligible for
– 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act
– Japanese Internment
• 1942–1945, over 110,000 Japanese Americans (and
authorized residents) forcibly relocated and held
• Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush authorized
reparations payments to survivors and descendants.
American Indians and Civil Rights
• Native Americans
– Tribe members are both American citizens and
members of sovereign tribal nations.
– They may reside on reservations that may have
different laws than states where they are located.
– Many state, federal, and even private programs require
proof of Native American ancestry.
• Such authentication is not asked of any other group.
Ability, Age, and Civil Rights
• Disabled Americans
– 1973 Rehabilitation Act
– Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
• The Elderly
– Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967)
– Gross v. FBL Financial Services (2009)
Gays and Lesbians
Gays, Lesbians, and Civil Rights
• Gays and Lesbians
– Military policy: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT,1993)
• Repealed in 2011
– Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)
– Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
– Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, 2006)
– As of 2012:
• 9 states legalized same-sex marriage.
• 39 states prohibited same-sex marriage.
Affirmative Action
• Compensatory action to overcome the
consequences of past discrimination
• Quotas (requisite number of x group) are illegal
since Bakke (1978).
• Michigan 2003 cases, race cannot be determining
factor but can be one of several
• Schools may opt not to use affirmative action.
– Legal costs and other considerations
Affirmative Action
Public Opinion in Black and White
• Will a solution to problems between blacks and
whites be found?
– 1963, 55 percent of those polled said “yes.”
– 2009, 56 percent of those polled said “yes.”
• 2009, ~75 percent of blacks and ~50 percent of
whites still see racism as a problem in America.
Public Opinion in Black and White
Public Opinion in Black and White
Do you think
African Americans:
Public Opinion Poll
Do you believe the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) should be allowed to
conduct ethnic profiling, or is this practice a
threat to an individual’s civil rights?
a) Allowed, it is not a threat to individual’s civil
b) Not allowed, it is a threat to individual’s civil
Public Opinion Poll
Is it possible for schools to be “separate but
equal,” where there is racial segregation but
equal educational opportunity, in today’s
a) Yes
b) No
Public Opinion Poll
Should states and the federal government be
allowed to ask people they suspect of being
unauthorized immigrants to prove their legal
status based on physical appearance?
a)Yes, it protects public and national interests.
b)No, it is a clearly discriminatory policy.
c) Yes, it is worth offending and/or
inconveniencing some American citizens in
Public Opinion Poll
Should the federal and state governments
recognize same-sex marriages, opposite-sex
marriages, or get out of the business of
authorizing and recognizing personal
relationships altogether?
a) Recognize same- and opposite-sex marriages
b) Recognize opposite-sex marriage only
c) Recognize same-sex marriage only
Public Opinion Poll
What did the election of President Barack
Obama tell us about race in American society?
a) Racism is not a significant problem in American
society any longer.
b) Racism is more problematic than ever; the
reaction to his presidency was noticeably hostile.
c) Racism remains a problem, but only in some
parts of the country.
Chapter 5: Civil Rights
• Quizzes
• Flashcards
• Outlines
• Exercises
Following this slide, you will find additional images,
figures, and tables from the textbook.
The Link to the Women’s Rights
Organizing for Equality
Cause and Effect in the Civil Rights
Social Protest and Congressional
The Civil Rights Act
The Universalization of Civil Rights
Immigrants and Civil Rights
The Supreme Court and the Burden of
Human Rights and International
The Digital Divide

Purchase answer to see full

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHSELP