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  • Chapter 6
  • O’Connor and Sabato
  • American Government:
  • Continuity and Change

In this chapter we will cover…

  • In this chapter we will cover…
    • Slavery, Abolition, and Winning the Right to Vote, 1800-90
    • The Push for Equality, 1890-1954
    • The Civil Rights Movement
    • Other Groups Mobilize for Rights

What are Civil Rights?

  • Civil Rights refers to the positive acts governments take to protect against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government or individuals.

Slavery, Abolition, and Winning the Right to Vote (1800-1890)

  • Slavery and Congress
    • In 1808 Congress banned slave trade.
    • The South was heavily dependent on cheap slave labor.
    • The North was becoming industrial.
    • In 1820 Missouri applied for admission as a slave state.
    • Admission of Missouri as a slave state would have given the slave states a majority in the Senate and was strongly opposed in the North.

Missouri Compromise (1820)

  • Allowed the admission of Missouri as a slave state along with the admission of Maine as a free state.
  • Balance of power was preserved but the conflict raged on.

The Abolitionist Movement

  • Founded by William Lloyd Garrison, the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833) reinvigorated the abolitionist movement.
  • Northern interest in emancipation, pushed by abolitionists, eroded relations between the North and South.
  • William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator was the voice of abolitionism, calling for immediate emancipation of the slaves.

The Seneca Falls Convention (1848)

  • Slavery was not the only practice that people began to question in the early years of America. Custom dictated that women not speak out in public and laws were constructed to make women second-class citizens.
  • The Seneca Convention gathered people from New York State who believed that all men and women should be given the same rights of citizenship.

Heightened Tensions (1850s)

  • In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • In Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) the Supreme Court ruled that slaves were not citizens of the United States.
    • Could not bring suits in federal court
    • Missouri Compromise ruled unconstitutional

The Civil War and Its Aftermath: Some Direct Causes for Conflict

  • Conflict over slavery (the Taney Court left little choice)
  • Conflict over nullification
  • North’s increasing strength in Congress
  • Southern agriculture v. Northern industry
  • Southern conservative culture v. Northern progressive ideas

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

  • Abraham Lincoln, on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, declared all "slaves within any State, or designated part of a State ... then ... in rebellion, ... shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

The Civil War Amendments

  • Thirteenth Amendment: banned all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude
  • Fourteenth Amendment: guarantees equal protection of the laws and due process to all citizens
  • Fifteenth Amendment: specifically gives black men the right to vote
    • Shortly after ratification the Southern states devised ways around these amendments by passing laws (Black Codes) that restricted opportunities for black Americans.

Black Codes

  • Southern states passed laws (Black Codes) that prohibited black Americans from:
    • Voting
    • Sitting on juries
    • Or even appearing in public places
    • In direct response to the Civil Rights Laws and Thirteenth Amendment requiring ratification as a pre-condition for southern states to be readmitted to the union

Jim Crow Laws

  • During the years of Jim Crow, state laws mandated racial separation of many places, including:
    • schools
    • restaurants
    • hotels
    • public transportation
    • theatres
    • restrooms
  • Many Jim Crow Laws banned interracial marriages.
  • These laws remained in effect throughout the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Intent of the Fifteenth Amendment

  • To avoid the intent of the Fifteenth Amendment, Southerners moved to exclude African American voters with:
    • Poll taxes
    • Literacy tests
    • Whites-only primaries
    • Grandfather clauses

Sample Questions from a Literacy Test

  • State of Louisiana
  • One wrong answer denotes failure of the test. (10 min)
  • Draw a line around the number or letter of this sentence.
  • Draw a line under the last word in this line.
  • Cross out the longest word in this line.
  • Draw a line around the shortest word in this line.
  • Circle the first, first letter of the alphabet in this line.
  • In the space below draw three circles, one inside the other.
  • Above the letter X make a small cross.
  • Draw a line through the letter below that comes earliest in the alphabet. ZVSEDGMKYTPHC
  • Draw a line through the letter below that comes last in the alphabet. ZVSEDGMKYTPHC
  • In the space below write the word noise backwards and place a dot over what would be its second letter should it have been written forward.
  • Give your age in days.

Thirteenth Amendment

  • Banned Slavery
  • Black Codes immediately implemented to restrict opportunities
  • Civil Rights Act 1866 – along with the Fourteenth Amendment to ensure full rights of citizenship specifically to “males”.
  • Provided avenue for blacks to file discrimination suits in the Federal Courts.

Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments

  • Women opposed due to language extending voting rights only to “males”.
  • Fifteenth Amendment excludes mention of sex.
  • Led to the formation of the NWSA – started by Anthony and Stanton

Bradwell v Illinois – Myra Bradwell passes Illinois bar exam but is denied admission to the Illinois Bar

  • Bradwell v Illinois – Myra Bradwell passes Illinois bar exam but is denied admission to the Illinois Bar
    • “The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life”
  • Minor v. Happersett – NWSA inspired
    • One of a series of test cases by women’s rights activists
    • Attempts to register to vote in St. Louis, MO
    • Court rules “voting is not a privilege of citizenship”

After Fourteenth Amendment

  • Civil Rights Act of 1875 – equal access to public accommodations such as theatres, restaurants, transportation, etc.
  • Jim Crow Laws implemented – requires segregation in public schools and facilities like railroads, restaurants and theatres
  • The Civil Rights Cases (1883) – convictions of those violating the Civil Rights Act of 1875
    • Many were overturned by SC
  • Supreme Court upholds Jim Crow Laws
    • Argued that private acts of discrimination are not unlawful

Progressive Era – Women’s Movement is Strengthened

  • Muller v. Oregon – State Law limiting women to 10 hour work days. (National Consumer’s League)
    • Employer convicted under new law
    • Law is upheld in Supreme Court
    • Fragile condition of women and their important role in child rearing is of ‘public interest’
    • Brandeis Brief – used sociological data to win this case
  • NWSA departs from earlier notions of equality to argue for voting rights based on Muller
  • Nineteenth Amendment - women given right to vote under notion of ‘public interest’ decided in Muller (National Consumer’s League)

2. The Push for Equality, 1890-1954

  • The Progressive Era (1889-1920) saw many reforms in:
    • Child labor laws
    • Monopolies
    • Prejudice
  • However, in what many call the Supreme Court’s darkest hour, the Court legitimized the principle of “separate but equal” in its ruling Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

  • Homer Adolph Plessy (7/8ths white, 1/8th black) boarded a train in New Orleans and sat in the “whites only” car.
  • Plessy was arrested when he refused to sit in the “colored car.”
  • Plessy sued arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment made racial segregation illegal.

Separate But Equal Doctrine

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Plessy that the Louisiana law was constitutional and that separate but equal facilities for blacks did not violate the Equal Protection Clause.
  • The high-court Plessy ruling led to a profusion of Jim Crow laws.
  • By 1914 every Southern state had passed laws that created two separate societies--one black, the other white.

The Lone Dissenter in Plessy

  • Justice John Harlan showed foresight when he wrote:
  • Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott case.”

Organizations Form to Push for Equality

  • Key Women’s Groups
    • NAWSA(National American Women’s Suffrage Association – AWSA and NWSA merged
    • Temperance League – ban alcohol
    • National Consumers’ League – fought for 10 hour work days

Women are Allowed to Vote

  • Coalition of women’s groups secured the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) guaranteeing all women the right to vote.
  • Membership in NAWSA growing from 10,000 to 2 million members


  • Formed in 1909
  • Oswald Garrison Villard – founder
    • Jane Addams
    • Moorfield Storey – Pres.Bar Assoc.
    • W.E.B. Dubois – Niagra Movement
      • Group of educated black African Americans

Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of the NAACP

  • Formed in 1939 to pursue equality in the nation’s courts.
    • Led by Thurgood Marshall
      • First African American Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)

Litigating For Equality

  • Brandeis type briefs using sociological data to support legal arguments
  • Targeted law schools – judges would be sympathetic and less threatening.
  • Supreme Court shifts focus from economic liberties to individual rights
  • Lloyd Gaines seeks admission to University of Missouri Law School(1936)
  • Court orders Missouri to admit or build

Litigating for Equality

  • NAACP targets Law Schools – judges would be sympathetic
  • Lloyd Gains – Graduate of Missouri all black college
  • Applies for admission to UofM Law School and denied
  • Court orders Missouri to admit or set up a law school just for him

Litigating for Equality

  • The NAACP set up a legal defense fund (LDF) in 1939 to pursue equality in the nation’s courts.
  • The Court ruled in Sweatt v. Painter that it would be impossible for the State of Texas to provide an equal legal education in a separate setting.

Litigating for Equality

  • In 1950, the Court ruled in favor of Mr. Sweatt and forced the University of Texas Law School to admit him.
  • In Sweatt v. Painter the Supreme Court struck down the system of "separate but equal" in graduate school education and paved the way for the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

  • Linda Carol Brown was not allowed to attend a school several blocks from her house because it was for white students. Instead, she had to walk several miles to the nearest all-black school.
  • LDF led by Marshall argued the unconstitutionality of Plessey

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

  • The NAACP argued that the intellectual, psychological, and financial damage that befell black Americans precluded any finding of equality under the separate but equal policy.
  • Doll Study – (Brandeis type approach)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

  • Sixty-four years after the Plessy decision the Court struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) decision.

3. The Civil Rights Movement

  • The Brown v. Board decision sparked the development of the modern civil rights movement.

“With All Deliberate Speed:” School Desegregation After Brown

  • The Court struggled over a remedy.
  • A year later, in Brown II (1955), the Court ruled that segregated systems must be dismantled “with all deliberate speed.”
  • Federal district judges enforce

Cooper v. Aaron and Little Rock Central High School

  • School asks for two and half year delay in implementing Brown
  • Seen as an ‘evasive scheme’
  • Courts rules that:
    • “no state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it.”

The Triumph of Non-Violent Protest

  • In 1955, Rosa Parks challenged segregation in public transportation.
  • A new young preacher in Montgomery, Martin Luther King, Jr., was selected to lead the challenge against the segregated bus system.
  • After a year the boycott succeeded.

Non-Violent Protests

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated a nonviolent approach to forcing social change. King modeled his philosophy on that of Gandhi, who successfully employed the nonviolent approach in an Indian revolt against the British shortly after World War II.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

  • Dr. King founded the SCLC in 1957. This group used non-violent means such as:
  • Freedom rides, sit-ins, and boycotts were used to open segregated lunch counters, waiting rooms, public swimming pools, and other public places.
  • Often local police attacked the peaceful protestors or chose not to defend them from attacking segregationists.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (1960)

  • Sit ins at local lunch counters at Woolworth’s
  • Led to more challenges of Jim Crow Laws
  • Brought attention of national news media

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

  • Freedom Rides to force desegregation of bus stations
  • Increasing numbers of white college students from the North play a role
  • Marion Barry, John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman (first leaders)

Birmingham, Alabama 1963

  • Stronghold of segregation
  • King launched massive nonviolent demonstrations
  • Police violence against protestors
  • Media images influence President John F. Kennedy to propose civil rights legislation
  • States legislatures in South would never repeal Jim Crow Laws

The March on Washington

  • In August 1963, more than 250,000 people marched peacefully in Washington, D.C. to show support for President Kennedy’s congressional motion banning discrimination in public places and accommodations.
  • Kennedy assassinated Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, TX

The Civil Rights Act of 1964:

  • Led by President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Civil Rights top priority
  • Expanded to include housing, jobs, and equal opportunity issues
  • Filibuster led by Senator Strom Thurmond
  • Cloture invoked after eight weeks of filibuster

The Civil Rights Act of 1964:

  • Outlawed arbitrary discrimination in voter registration.
  • Barred discrimination in public accommodation.
  • Authorized the U.S. Justice Department to initiate lawsuits to desegregate schools and public facilities.
  • Allowed the federal government to withhold funds from discriminatory state and local programs.
  • Prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
  • Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to monitor and enforce bans on employment discrimination.

Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg School District

  • In 1971, 29% of black students still in all black schools
  • Made de jure discrimination illegal
  • Required increased busing, racial quotas, pairing of schools
  • de facto discrimination due to housing patterns not effected
  • Dismantling of federal desegregation plans since 1992

The Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • Southerners argued that the Act violated the Constitution and was an unwarranted use of federal power.
  • The Court ruled that state-imposed (de jure) segregation must be eliminated at once.
  • A full decade after Brown, less than 1% of African American children in the South attended integrated schools.
  • Over time, these rulings and laws opened up numerous occupations to minorities and women.

Employment and Duke Power Company (1971)

  • Title VII violation
  • Employment practice requiring high school education and test for promotion eligibility
  • Duke has burden of proof in showing that tests were “a business necessity”
  • “business necessity” notion important in future cases involving discrimination suits against women in employment

The Women’s Rights Movement

  • Hoyt v. Florida (1961) – (abused wife murders husband)
    • Argued trial by all-male jury violated 14th Amendment
    • Harlan rejects contention (overruled in 1975)
  • 1961, President Kennedy created a Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission’s report, titled “American Women,” detailed pervasive discrimination against women.

The Women’s Rights Movement

  • The Feminine Mystique (1963) added to the dawning recognition that something was wrong.
  • Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included a prohibition against gender discrimination, the EEOC failed to enforce the law.
  • 1966 - Women activists form National Organization of Women (NOW)

Equal Rights Amendment

  • Equal Rights Amendment battle
        • Roe v. Wade backlash
        • Now known as Women’s Equality Amendment.
    • States failed to ratify
    • Court’s expansive view of 14th Amendment
    • Unconstitutional practices struck down using strict scrutiny for suspect classifications

Statutory Remedies

  • Equal Pay Act of 1963.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972.

Sexual Harassment Filings, Fiscal Years 1990-2001

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 HR 3355 and signed as Public Law 103-322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.

  • The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 HR 3355 and signed as Public Law 103-322 by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.
  • VAWA was drafted by Senator Joe Biden's office with support from a number of advocacy organizations including Legal Momentum and The National Organization for Women, which described the bill as "the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades."
  • VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 5, 2006. [1]
  • VAWA will be up for reauthorization in 2010.
  • [edit] Proposed Bill: International Violence Against Women Act of 2007
  • In 2007 Senator Biden proposed the International Violence Against Women Act. The bill did not pass either the Senate or the House. The bill is far-reaching in its scope and controversial in many of its provisions:
  • Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to establish in the Department of State the Office of Women's Global Initiatives (which shall replace the Office of International Women's Issues) to coordinate U.S. government efforts respecting international women's issues. Establishes within the Department an Advisory Commission on International Violence Against Women.
  • Directs the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent violence against women and girls. Directs the Coordinator of the Women's Global Initiatives to ensure that foreign assistance programs incorporate measures to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. Provides that U.S. training of foreign military and police forces incorporates training on prevention of violence against women and girls.
  • Directs the Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist programs that prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in all humanitarian relief, conflict, and post-conflict operations. Directs the Secretary of State to: (1) encourage U.N. member states to expand the number of female members of U.N. peacekeeping missions; and (2) take emergency measures to respond to violence against women and girls during conflict or post-conflict operations.
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the United Nations should strengthen its ability to prevent violence against women and girls by U.N. military and civilian personnel. Provides that Foreign Service training include instruction on prevention of violence against women and girls. Authorizes appropriations to support the United Nations Development Fund for Women Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women

4. Other Groups Mobilize for Rights

  • Denial of civil rights has led many other disadvantaged groups to mobilize to achieve greater civil rights.
  • Their efforts to achieve those rights have many parallels to the efforts made by African Americans and women.

Hispanic Americans

  • Hispanic Americans borrowed tactics from the African American civil rights movement including sit-ins, boycotts, marches, and activities that drew publicity.
  • The Hispanic community also relied heavily on litigation strategies.
  • MALDEF and others have been successful in expanding rights and opportunities for Hispanics.
  • "One of the heroic figures of our time." Senator Robert F. Kennedy
  • Cesar Estrada Chavez founded and led the first successful farm workers' union in U.S. history.

Hispanic Americans

  • Largest and fastest growing group in the U.S.
  • High levels of activism and rallies begin in 1960s.
  • United Farm Workers, National Council of La Raza.
  • Use of litigation by LULAC and MALDEF.
  • Voting, education, and immigration are major issues.

Native Americans

  • Native American are the first “true” Americans, and their status under U.S. law is unique.
  • “Indian tribes” under the Constitution are considered distinct governments.

American Indians

  • Unique status under U.S. law.
  • History of isolation and then assimilation.
  • Native American Rights Fund handles litigation.
  • Major issues are hunting, fishing, and land rights.
  • Also have had struggles about religious freedom.
  • Growth of Indian casinos.

Americans with Disabilities

  • 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Requires employers to accommodate the disabled.
  • Tennessee v. Lane (2004) binds states to law.
  • American Association of People with Disabilities.
  • Often work with right to life groups.

Affirmative Action

  • Gives special advantages to disadvantaged groups.
  • Bakke decision lays groundwork for 1980s battle.
  • Supreme Court plays major role.
  • 2003 Grutter and Gratz decisions.
  • Quotas not acceptable, some preference is okay.

Workplace Discrimination

  • Equal pay suits at Wal-Mart.
  • Ledbetter decision sets time limit for pay equity suits.
  • Concern about hiring illegal immigrants.
  • Violations of immigrants’ rights after 9/11.

Gays and Lesbians

  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)
  • “Don’t ask, don’t tell”
  • Romer v. Evans (1996)
  • Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale (2000)

Essay Questions for Test

  • Discuss the history and outcome of the Civil Rights struggle for African Americans in the United States from the Abolitionist movement through 1965.
  • Discuss the progress of gender equality in the United States from the Civil War through 1982.

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