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Advancement of Rights and Division in the US


Throughout American history, society has demonstrated different attitudes towards African Americans. These individuals had been slaves before 1865, witnessed and promoted the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century, and are fully-fledged society members today. One can state that the civil rights movement was a crucial period that significantly contributed to promoting social justice. During the 1940s-1970s, specific political and social events and processes promoted the advancement of rights and division in American society.

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The period under consideration witnessed many legislative efforts to promote human rights. For example, the Executive Order by President Harry Truman ended segregation in the American army in 1948 (Gergel, 2019). That document denoted that soldiers would not face any discrimination based on their ethnicity or skin color. Simultaneously, in 1954 witnessed as the Supreme Court issued a decision to end racial segregation in public schools (Schmidt, 2018). This step should have contributed to the fact that the younger generation would not become familiar with racism from an early age. Thus, it is possible to mention that the 1940s-1970s provided an effective political environment to combat racism and discrimination.

However, one cannot state that the period under analysis did not face any human rights issues. The rationale behind this statement is that irrespective of legislative efforts, society was accustomed to racial division, which made numerous people oppress social equality. Consequently, African Americans were forced to protect their rights by themselves. For example, a well-known case occurred in 1955 when an African American woman refused to give her bus seat to a white man (Schmidt, 2018). Her action resulted in the Montgomery bus boycott that lasted for a year to combat racial segregation in public transport. Another important event happened in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, when President Eisenhower “deployed federal troops to enforce a school desegregation order” (Schmidt, 2018, p. 26). This case inspired multiple students across the nation to protect their rights and eliminate segregation that existed despite the Supreme Court decision that has been highlighted above.

It is possible to mention that the period under analysis offered a controversial environment for human rights development. On the one hand, legislation efforts advocated for equality and social justice because US presidents and the Supreme Court evidently supported the civil rights movement. On the other hand, it seems that ordinary citizens were not prepared for the new social order, which made them oppress equality and keep discriminating against African Americans. Even official legislation pieces did not guarantee that segregation would not affect individuals. I think that the combination of these two phenomena positively impacted the civil rights movement. People understood that government support was essential but insufficient to end segregation. That is why numerous peaceful protests and sit-ins took place across the nation to advocate for equality (Schmidt, 2018). Thus, I believe that the most significant result of these events was the unification of legal and social efforts, which successfully promoted human rights in US society.


In conclusion, the period during the 1940s-1970s was the time when effective changes regarding human rights took place. The most important result occurred because social processes accompanied legal efforts to end segregation. That dual approach made it possible to address the controversial environment that involved suitable legislation and social oppression at the same time. African Americans participated in the civil rights movement to ensure that court decisions and appropriate orders were adequately implemented. Consequently, one can state that the period under consideration witnessed the advancement of human rights.


Gergel, R. (2019). Unexampled courage: The blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Schmidt, C. W. (2018). The sit-ins: Protests & legal change in the civil rights era. The University of Chicago Press.

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