The struggle for civil rights has existed throughout American history. The fight for civil rights has often been highly charged dispute that has resulted in heartless behaviors, bloody wars, assassinations, and racial segregation. Today, racism and inclusiveness are issues that trigger never-ending debates amongst Americans. After the freeing of the American slaves, they gained freedom to participate in social and political issues that affected the American society. Understanding the foundation of the American civil rights debate and how the issue is reflected in American politics is important for all citizens to appreciate.
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Civil rights debate emerged during the 1860s. The overthrow of the South after the civil war did not curtail racial segregation, especially in the confederate territories. According to Free at Last, the availability of a new crop and vast plantations that were dominated by the captives made the South independent (8). The environment triggered more clashes. Years of long-standing racial segregation, oppression, and slavery led to the formation of the civil rights movement. At that time, the “White” government failed to grant the freed slaves much freedom to participate in American politics. Government officials feared that the freed “Blacks” might be resentful and commit vengeful acts, if laws were not in place that did not restrict them. As a result, the government passed legislations at both local and state levels to narrow the rights of the African-Americans. For instance, the South approved the Black Codes legislation that was geared at frustrating the freed slaves by worsening the conditions in which they can live. The passing of these laws led to blatant discrimination in many areas such as schooling, medication, and employment. The laws also limited minority groups in establishing businesses. The “White” government also implemented bans that prevented business from interacting with the ‘White” community.
The civil rights debate has surfaced often in times and has continued to play a crucial role in American politics. Black communities have continued to experience inequality and racial discrimination, despite continuous efforts by Congress to unite the Whites and the Blacks.
Arguably, Southern African-Americans have faced the most conflicting civil rights challenges in American history. To this day, Americans are divided into various sub-groupings based on whether a person is a Black or a White. These cross-racial and ethnic groups are a core part of American political landscape. American leaders work hard to provide democracy to citizens. However, misuse of power and representation compromises political system. The American Civil Rights Commission has granted all Americans civil liberties, regardless of gender, race, color, religion, and national origin among other perceptive factors. Civil rights debates focus on equal political representation of all Americans and the representation of African-Americans in the political front lines has earned them a say in American leadership.
The American constitution has a lot of language to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens. The constitution highlights the various civil liberties that guarantee Americans equal treatment. Some amendments on conscience rights, freedom of worship and speech, and right to participate in politics have benefited minority groups. The right to vote and freedom to conduct business activities were not in the original American constitution but added later. Additionally, continuous arguments about equal inclusion of all Americans in federal politics led to revisions of the original constitution. These specific revisions were attempts to end blatant discrimination. For instance, the old versions of the American constitution failed to protect the African-Americans against discrimination and jeopardy in courts. Therefore, they began to pressurize the federal administration to put in place strategies that were meant to end segregation (Lawson and Payne 5). , As a result, the eighth amendment of the constitution by the Congress ended biased punishment in courts and vague arrests that were clearly discriminatory to African-Americans. Today, the constitution advocates equal judgment. The law is nonbiased to discriminative acts that are based on race and profiling.
One of the more current events that have drawn political and civilian interest related to American civil rights is education. In fact, it stands as the greatest civil rights issue in the society that has required our political leaders to engage in various civil rights debates. The American government has spent unrelenting efforts to develop democracy along education lines in attempts to provide quality education to people regardless of their color, race, and national origin. Over time, the fight for educational civil rights has successfully changed the minds of many “Whites”, especially in the South, who believed that African-Americans should have less education. It is important to understand that education to all Americans is only half of the debate. The quest for quality education for all Americans, regardless of zip code, is still being pursued, despite the 1954 court ruling, which “declared public school racial segregation to be a denial of equal production under the laws (The World Book Encyclopedia 77). Politically, democrats have often put forth claims that the current educational system in many public schools systems fails to deliver quality education. Though our government does strive to offer equal opportunities to quality education for all eligible Americans, data suggest that African-Americans discontinue their education more often than White Americans. This comparison suggests that America still faces inequality in terms educational resources.
The discussion on civil rights issues remains a debatable topic in the American society. The existence of diverse interest groups from different racial and ethnic origins has led to hardnosed political discussions that have failed to develop into productive outcomes. Although the continued fight for civil rights has progressed our country, racial profiling, discrimination, and injustices have not disappeared in American society. While social and political racism may not be as obvious as it once was, to some it has merely evolved and transformed to survive in current society. There is an absolute need for more political inclusion and appreciation of diversity to close the gap between the various racial, ethnic, social, economic, and political groups.
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Free at Last. The U.S Civil Rights Movement. Web.
Lawson, Steven, and Charles Payne. Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008. Print.
The World Book Encyclopedia. About America: The Constitution of the United States of America with Explanatory Notes. Web.