AP Government and Politics
September 9, 2014
U.S. Constitution, Civil Liberties, & Civil Rights
The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Bill Of Rights Institute). The first amendment gives citizens the protection of free speech, press, and protest, but the protection of religion is the most important of the Bill of Rights. This protection sets the United States apart from other countries; America was founded on the idea of freedom. Today, many social issues threaten the protection of the First Amendment.
Under the First Amendment, citizens have the ability to practice whatever religion they please. No citizen can be forced to do something that violates his or her religious views, so the First Amendment protects all those who strongly believe in any religion. No religion is considered more important than another, and no one can be discriminated against based on that religion, meaning that even private businesses can make decisions based on their religious views without punishment. The religious freedom and toleration created by the First Amendment should be considered in laws, social issues, and government actions.
Threatening the First Amendment, private Catholic adoption and foster services in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the State of Illinois have been put out of business, “by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both, because those charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.” (usccb). The government needs to protect the rights of private businesses to express their religious views. The First Amendment...
...The American CivilLiberties Union
Two Sides of the Same Coin
The American CivilLiberties Union, commonly known as the ACLU, was founded in 1920 by Roger Nash Baldwin in defense of the Bill of Rights. Over the years, the American CivilLiberties Union has been involved in so many controversial cases, such as the Scopes Monkey Trial and for their defense of the American Nazis’ in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, that many people view them as anti-religious. Considered a left wing organization by many individuals, the mere mention of the American CivilLiberties Union stirs raw emotion.
Does freedom of speech apply to all Americans or only the Americans that agree with the majority of the public? What freedoms would we have today if the American CivilLiberties Union had not been there through the years, standing on the front lines fighting for the rights of all Americans? What is the meaning of the First Amendment? When do we separate church and state? What are CivilLiberties?
According to Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, the definition of Civilliberties “are rights in Freedom that protect an individual from the government of the nation in which they reside. CivilLiberties set limits on...
Both the black civilrights and the women’s rights movements had a similar goal in mind: create opportunities for their groups that were as equal as the majority had, and to end discrimination against them and enforce constitutional voting rights to them. These two movements had to deal with the question of how one goes about pursuing such opportunities effectively. In this essay my goal is to compare and contrast the effectiveness of the methods used in both the black civilrights and the women’s rights movements.
These two movements were characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. Acts of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities often had to respond immediately to these situations that highlighted the inequities face by these two movements. Forms of protests and disobedience included boycotts, marches, of course, the woman’s suffrage and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.
The movement within the larger CivilRights Movement (which started with the Brown v.Board of Ed. ruling and moved through desegregation in public facilities up the voting rights act) that I want discuss first is the Selma to Montgomery march that Southern Christian...
...that the Federal Government hindered the CivilRights movement in the period 1945-1968?
The Federal Government was a significant part in pushing the civilrights movement forwards, but in some cases it hindered the civilrights movement, especially with Presidential figures such as Eisenhower who had no interest in the CivilRights movement. He believed that the social status and power of the black community in the US would improve naturally of its own accord over time and that there was no need for the government to get involved, or it was not the governments job to improve the conditions for black people.an example of Eisenhower hindering the CivilRights Movement would be at the Little Rock campaign where he was very slow to respond to the much needed help of the nine black students, as they were not being allowed into the school because of the national guard and he didn’t condemn any of the white violence directed towards the black students or people of Little Rock. Although Eisenhower can also be seen to have pushed the movement forwards in some ways, for example at Little Rock he used federal troops to uphold the Brown ruling, but again he was very reluctant in doing this, which I think doesn’t show that he tried to move the CivilRights Movement forward, but was in fact forced to...
Chapter 5 Review Questions
1. CivilRights are the government-protected rights of individuals against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by governments or individuals. The concept of equality got introduced into the constitution. The 14th Amendment, one of three Civil war Amendments ratified from 1865 to 1870, introduced the notion of equality into the constitution by specifying that a state could not deny “any person within jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.” It is evident in the recent Walmart vs. Duke case, where women were not allowed to attend management meetings or further their career at Walmart. It is important because today, this amendment protects a variety of groups against discrimination.
2. Bakke was followed by a 1979 case in which the Court ruled that a factory and a union could voluntarily adopt a quota system in selecting black workers over more senior white workers for a training program. This outraged blue collar Americans who traditionally voted for the Democratic Party. Later they abandoned the party, a foe of affirmative action.
3. The statute defines a disabled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more “life activities” or who has a record of such impairment.
4. The DADT policy is where the military would no longer as gays and lesbians if they were homosexual.
5. Homosexual people should be, and under our...
...Chapter 29 CivilRights and Uncivil Liberties (1947-1969)
1. The chapter introduction tells the story of a schoolgirl and a teacher to make the point that
D. the wrenching changes of the 1960s, which affected most Americans, grew out of the social trends and conditions of the 1950s.
2. Approximately what percentage of cotton was picked mechanically in 1960?
A. 50 percent
3. What finally pushed the Kennedy administration to commit to federal legislation to end segregation and protect voting rights?
D. the violent repression of nonviolent demonstrations
Chapter 29 - CivilRights and Uncivil Liberties (1947-1969) 29-2
4. The case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka concerned
C. racial segregation in public schools.
5. In the 1947 Texas desegregation order there was an exception; the first grade could continue to be segregated. What was the rationale for this exception?
A. language skills
6. What event, more than any other, catapulted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence?
B. the Montgomery bus boycott
7. The Black Panther party believed in
B. armed protection and protest.
Chapter 29 - CivilRights and Uncivil Liberties (1947-1969) 29-3
8. Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to leadership in the civilrights movement during the 1950s.
His strategies, different from...
...One of the major groups that were in the CivilRights movement was the NAACP which fought for CivilRights by changing the laws thinking that if the law stated that the white community had to treat them equally, they would do so. They continually argued the 14th amendment which granted them equal protection under the law and the easiest cases that pointed this out were the ones about the inequality in education. Thurgood Marshall, the main lawyer for the NAACP, is famous for his court case Brown vs. Topeka Board of education and Brown vs. Board of Education II. The first case was not a success because the supreme court agreed with the board, but the second case in 1953, came to the agreement that segregation was wrong on the grounds that separating black students from others that are the same age and intelligence as them because of their race, “generates a feeling of inferiority... that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone,” (Chief Justice Earl Warren). This was a major success for the NAACP although implementing the new ruling proved to be more difficult because the federal government did not force the state governments to apply them to their cities. This ruling did change some districts but most did not comply. Many schools and school districts were closed because the cities would have rather close them than integrate. Also because of President Eisenhower’s lack of support, the...
...Even though it is stated clearly and boldly in the constitution, the phrase “All men are created equal” has had little weight in American society and has been the cause of social unrest in America for decades. From blacks to minorities to women, unequal treatment has been the cause of protest and objection. Civilrights and inequality cases and issues are focused on by Congress, the courts, and the bureaucracy. Not only is discrimination an issue against race and gender, other groups have been demanding social and constitutional protection. There are some that have to do with age and disability, and there are more controversial ones like sexual orientation.
Civilrights must be demanded and quieted upon. These fights have to take place on philosophical levels, as well as Constitutional interpretations. The Declaration of Independence might have stated equal rights for all, but does it actually mean equal opportunities for all. Even though we might have equal opportunities, does that mean we all have equal chances of succeeding? Do all of these other minorities have the same chance to succeeding as do all other peoples? Are they all getting the same results and reward? This is the focus of the 21st civilliberties fight. Founding fathers did not explicitly mention equal rights for all; however, the interpretations of the constitution...
...Before the CivilRights Act of 1964, segregation in the United States was commonly practiced in many of the Southern and Border States. This segregation while supposed to be separate but equal, was hardly that. Blacks in the South were discriminated against repeatedly while laws did nothing to protect their individual rights. The CivilRights Act of 1964 ridded the nation of this legal segregation and cleared a path towards equality and integration. The passage of this Act, while forever altering the relationship between blacks and whites, remains as one of history's greatest political battles.
Racial unrest by the summer of 1963 was at its height since the Civil War. President Kennedy picked up the situation at the close of the Eisenhower years at a time when tensions were rapidly increasing. By the summer of 1963, however, after a series of violent demonstrations in the South, particularly in Birmingham, Alabama, President Kennedy pushed for a very strong civilrights bill in Congress. The first of its kind since the Civil War, this bill drastically called for the end of all segregation in all public places. In the eyes of the civilrights movement leaders, this bill was long over due.
Kennedy's crusade began slowly to the dismay of many civilrights leaders in February of 1963....