Theme 5 Short Response Questions
- Develop a research question about the Civil Rights Movement, based on the material contained in this learning block. You should use a specific historical lens that you feel is relevant to this issue. Historical lenses can include such perspectives as political, social, religious, military, and economic history.
Research question: How did the Civil Rights movement evolve and how its ideas contested with political alliances affect the growth of the civil rights movement?
One of the greatest democratic achievements in American history was the birth of the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation, giving Africa-Americans social and economic mobility for the first time
- In the space below, specify which historical lens you’d like to use for this exercise.
For this research, I would like to use the economic history lens to examine the entrenched system of economic discrimination against African-Americans and describe the role the Federal Government played in the civil rights movement. Congress played a major role in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The legislation made African-Americans part of the reconstruction process, initiating a fight against the long-standing economic and social inequalities in America.
- 3. Next, formulate a research question about the civil rights movement (historical time from 1954 – 1968), using the lens you’ve chosen
Research question: Was the Civil Rights Movement a second reconstruction?
After the end of the Second World War, Americans started recovering from the war economy. This period is often referred to as the Second Reconstruction. During this epoch, there was an emergence of civil rights groups that wanted to address the human rights abuses in America. A combination of the Civil Rights Movement and progressive action by the federal government, including the courts and Congress, led to the redress of the long-standing inequalities against African Americans.
- First, go back and review the research question you developed in Step 1. For Step 2, first name two different primary sources that you might use to answer that question. Be as specific as you can. Your primary sources should be found using the Shapiro Library.
My primary resources will be derived from the Shapiro Library. There, I will search for relevant articles related to the civil rights movement.
The first article is the Civil Rights Movement and The Second Reconstruction, 1945—1968. https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Essays/Keeping-the-Faith/Civil-Rights-Movement/
Kousser, J. M. (2000). Colorblind Injustice: Minority voting rights and the undoing of the second reconstruction. Univ of North Carolina Press.
- Next, name two different secondary sources you could use to answer your research question. Again, be as specific as you can.
The secondary sources to answer the research question will be generated from the Shapiro Library. They include:
Delton, J. (2016). Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman. Journal of Southern History, 82(4), 988-990.
Hen, W. (2015). We the People, Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution.
- Construct a thesis statement that provides an answer to the research question you posed in Step 1. Base your response on the historical evidence that’s been presented in this course so far, as well as any research you may have done on your own.
The Second Reconstruction was a period when the American Civil Rights Movement fought against racial segregation and discrimination and emerged right after the Second World War. This period marked the beginning of African Americans achieving rights they had been denied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The civil rights movement led to enormous social and political changes. Notably, civil rights movement activities influenced the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending institutionalized segregation and giving Africa American social and economic mobility.
- Name three specific historical events that can be considered contributory causes of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Briefly explain why you believe each of these events contributed to the passage of the Act.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was mainly influenced by reforms in key components of the US Constitution. Specifically, the 14th Amendment granted citizenship to people born or were naturalized in America, which included former slaves. Similarly, the 15th Amendment prohibited any form of discrimination towards voters based on their color or previous conditions of slavery.
The other contributory causes of the passage of the Voting Right Act were the circumvention of voter rights after the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments. The marginalization of minority groups led to protests that culminated in the passing of the legislation.
Bloody Sunday is a historical event where a group of unarmed African-Americans protestors marched in Selma was attacked by police. The widely published event prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
- Based on what you read about the passage of the Voting Rights Act on Page 1 of this learning block, name one event that was part of the course of this bill’s passage by Congress.
The violence on Edmund Pettis Bridge caught the attention of the media. Images of peaceful protestors being beaten by police further outraged the public. Eight days after the protest, President Johnson was under pressure and called for swift passage of the voting rights proposal.
- Name three specific consequences caused by the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
One of the immediate effects of the Voting Rights Act was voter registration, which surged among African-Americans living in the South who previously could not vote. By 1970, most eligible African-American voters had registered to vote in 11 former Jim Crow states.
The Voting Rights Act was known to have improved the American political system because it created a genuine political system in the south, destroying the one-party monopoly.
Similar, the Voting Rights Act created majority-minority districts which had an impact on the American political system. More African Americans took leadership positions. As a result, majority-minority districts in the south sent more minorities who were liberal democrats to Congress with majority-white districts sending more conservative Republican to Congress which polarized congress.
- One of these scholars relied heavily on evidence about the substance of today’s political debate. Which scholar was that? What sort of evidence did he use?
Richard Piles relied on evidence from political party composition to justify his idea of polarization of democracy in America. Piles focused his idea on institutional factors, forgetting the historical context of understanding Americans politics today
- One of these scholars relied heavily on evidence about the political process. Which scholar was that? What sort of evidence did he use?
David Kennedy reviewed the idea of polarization by acknowledging some of the salient issues that cause division among political parties. Notable examples are abortion and gay marriage, war, and peace. According to Kennedy, the different interests determines political affiliations more than the party ideologies.
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