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Chapter 5. Civil Rights. Civil Rights. Rights rooted in the 14 th Amendments’ guarantee of equal protection under the law (equal treatment) Recall civil liberties as limits on government action What the government must do to ensure equal protection

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Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Civil Rights


Civil rights

Civil Rights

  • Rights rooted in the 14th Amendments’ guarantee of equal protection under the law (equal treatment)

    • Recall civil liberties as limits on government action

  • What the government must do to ensure equal protection

  • What the government must do to ensure freedom from discrimination

  • History of civil rights – struggle of groups to free themselves from discriminatory treatment (African Americans, women, elderly, homosexuals, etc.)

  • Key cases: Dred Scott v. Sanford; Plessy v. Ferguson; Brown v. Board of Education


Constitution and slavery

Constitution and Slavery

  • In apportioning congressional representation based on population, the constitution refers to free persons and “other persons” (or slaves)

  • For purposes of representation, a slave was equal to 3/5 of a free person

  • Supreme Court confirms constitutionality of slavery in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)

    • Slaves not citizens of US

    • Not entitled to rights/privileges of citizenship

  • Constitutional servitude ends with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and passage of 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments during Reconstruction period following Civil War


Civil war amendments

Civil War Amendments

  • End constitutional inequality

  • 13th Amendment (1865) – neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in the United States

  • 14th Amendment (1868) – all persons born or naturalized in the United State are citizens of the United States

    • States cannot abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens

    • All persons (whether or not they are citizens) are entitled to due process

    • All persons are entitled to equal protection; citizens have political rights (vote, run for office); all persons (whether citizen or not) have right to due process and equal protection

  • 15th Amendment (1870) – the right to vote shall not be denied because of race, color or previous condition of servitude


Civil rights acts of 1865 to 1875

Civil Rights Acts of 1865 to 1875

  • Aimed at enforcing 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments

  • Civil Rights Act (1866)

    • Extended citizenship to anyone born in the United States

    • Gave African Americans full equality before the law

    • Authorized the president to enforce the act through use of force

  • Enforcement Act (1870)

    • Set out specific penalties for interfering with the right to vote


Nullification of civil rights acts

Nullification of Civil Rights Acts

  • Reconstruction statutes, civil rights acts did little to secure legal equality for African Americans

  • Civil Rights Cases (1883)

    • Supreme Court rules that the 14th amendment only prevents official discriminatory acts by states, not by private individuals

    • Met with widespread approval throughout the U.S.

  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

    • Supreme Court ruled that segregation did not violate the 14th Amendment

    • Established the separate-but-equal doctrine

    • Provided constitutional justification for racial discrimination/segregation throughout the U.S.

    • In the South, Jim Crow laws solidified segregation (separate drinking fountains, seats in theaters, restaurants, hotels, restrooms, waiting rooms, etc.)


Barriers to african american voting

Barriers to African American Voting

  • White primary – state primary election in which only whites may vote

    • Allowed because Southern politicians claimed political parties were private entities

    • Wasn’t outlawed by the Supreme Court until Smith v. Allwright (1944!)

  • Grandfather clause – restricting voting to individuals who could prove that their grandfathers had voter prior to 1867

    • Used to exempt whites from poll taxes

    • Used to exempt whites from literacy tests


Barriers to african american voting cont

Barriers to African American Voting, cont.

  • Poll taxes – required the payment of a fee to vote

    • Intended to disenfranchise poor African Americans

    • Outlawed in national elections by the 24th amendment

    • Outlawed in all elections by Supreme Court in 1966

  • Literacy tests – required potential voters to read, recite or interpret complicated texts

    • Intended to disenfranchise African Americans

  • Barriers (white primaries, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and literacy tests) were quite effective at disenfranchising African Americans

    • Note: the U.S. didn’t achieve universal suffrage (i.e., become fully democratic) until the Voting Rights Act (1965)


Ending legal segregation

Ending Legal Segregation

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – Supreme Court rules public school segregation violates the 14th Amendment

    • Chief Justice Earl Warren claims separation implies inferiority

    • Overturns Plessy v. Ferguson

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1955) – orders desegregation “with all deliberate speed”

    • De facto segregation = racial segregation due to past social and economic conditions and residential patterns

    • De jure segregation = racial segregation due to laws or administrative decisions by public authorities

  • Court–ordered busing – transporting African American children to white schools and white children to African American schools to eliminate school segregation based on residential patterns – met with considerable resistance

    • Today, many schools are segregated; little public or court support for integration efforts


Civil rights movement

Civil Rights Movement

  • Key developments

    • Rosa Parks, Montgomery, Alabama 1955

    • Martin Luther King leads bus boycott

    • King’s philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience to achieve racial justice

    • Formation of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

    • Birmingham protest, 1963

    • March on Washington, 1963

      • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech

    • Black Power movement

      • Malcolm X

  • Violent response to non-violent protest movement produced groundswell of support


Modern civil rights legislation

Modern Civil Rights Legislation

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • Most far-reaching in modern times

    • Forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and national origin in

      • Voter registration

      • Public accommodations

      • Public schools

    • Expanded power of Civil Rights Commission

    • Withheld funds from programs administered in a discriminatory way

    • Established the right to equality of opportunity in employment (created the EEOC)


Modern civil rights legislation1

Modern Civil Rights Legislation

  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    • Outlawed discriminatory voter registration tests

    • Authorized federal registration and administration of voting where discrimination took place

      • Resulted in massive voter registration drive of African Americans in the South

      • Led to increasing political participation on the part of African Americans in voting and holding office

      • Increased participation of other minorities as well

  • Civil Rights Act of 1968

    • Forbade discrimination in housing, mortgage-lending


Immigration and civil rights

Immigration and Civil Rights

  • Immigration rates today are historically high

    • One million/year immigrate to the U.S.

    • Foreign-born constitute 10% of population

  • High rate of immigration

    • Positive effects = expand work force; help support government programs

  • Increasing blurring of racial lines

    • Significant for civil rights agenda because government has traditionally used racial categories to determine benefits and track trends

    • Government now uses 6th mixed census category (in addition to white, black, American Indian, Alaskan native, and Asian/Pacific Islander)

  • Questions: Should the government ask/track racial identification? Is it possible to promote equality without this data?


Charges of discrimination eeoc 2002 still a long way to go

© 2004 Wadsworth Publishing / Thomson Learning™

Charges ofDiscrimination EEOC 2002Still a long way to go…


Women s struggle for equal rights

Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights

  • Women’s Suffrage Movement

    • Connected to the abolition movement

    • Suffragists organized the first women’s right convention at Seneca Falls, NY in 1848

    • Established women’s suffrage associations

    • Finally won passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920


U s in comparative perspective 106

U.S. in Comparative Perspective, 106


Women s struggle for equal rights1

Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights

  • Question: How many of you are feminists?

  • Modern Women’s Movement

    • Feminism = political, economic, and social equality for women

    • Connected to Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

    • Spurred by the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963)

    • National Organization for Women formed (1966)

    • Argued for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

      • Failed to win the necessary states for ratification

    • Targeted gender discrimination by challenging policies and laws in federal courts

    • Advocated and encouraged an increasingly prominent role for women in government and politics, with some success


Gender based discrimination in the workplace

Gender discrimination = any practice, policy or procedure that denies equal treatment to an individual or group based on gender

Prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Applies even to “protective policies,” policies designed to protect women of child-bearing age

Sexual harassment = unwanted physical or verbal conduct or abuse of a sexual nature that interferes with a recipient’s job performance, creates a hostile environment, or carries an implicit or explicit threat of adverse employment consequences

Wage discrimination = women earn 76 cents for every $1.00 earned by men despite the Equal Pay Act requiring equal pay for equal work

Glass ceiling = phenomenon of women holding few of the top positions in professions or businesses

Question: What additional policies are needed to promote gender equality?

Gender-Based Discrimination in the Workplace


Affirmative action

Affirmative Action

  • Affirmative Action = a policy in admissions or hiring that gives special consideration to traditionally disadvantaged groups to overcome present effects of past discrimination

    • Original aimed at advancing women and “minorities”

    • Goes beyond strict interpretation of equal protection

  • Regents of CA v. Bakke (1978)

    • Bakke argued UC Davis affirmative action policy constituted “reverse discrimination,” discriminates against those who do not have minority status

    • Court does not rule against affirmative action

    • Rules that race can be considered as a factor in admissions, just not the only factor

  • Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña (1995) – requires “strict scrutiny,” must be tailored to meet a compelling state interest

  • Other recent cases have upheld constitutionality of affirmative action programs

  • CA’s passage of Proposition 209 (1996) outlawed affirmative action programs in all state-sponsored institutions (e.g., hiring and college admissions)

  • Question: Should affirmative action be extended or abolished? Is bilingual education a civil rights issue? (note: CA banned bilingual education in 1998)


Aging population

© 2004 Wadsworth Publishing / Thomson Learning™

Aging Population


Special protection for older americans

Special Protection for Older Americans

  • Older Americans not protected against discrimination by Civil Rights Act

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (1967)

    • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age unless age is shown to be a bona fide occupational qualification

  • Mandatory Retirement

    • Forced retirement when a person reaches a certain age

    • Prohibited forced retirement for employees under 70 in most occupations by an amendment to the ADEA (1978)


Securing rights for persons with disabilities

Securing Rights for Persons with Disabilities

  • Like older Americans, persons with disabilities not protected from discrimination by Civil Rights Act

  • Protection afforded through Rehabilitation Act, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, and Education for All Handicapped Children Act

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)

    • Requires all public buildings and services be accessible to persons with disabilities

    • Requires employers make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities

    • Defines “disabilities” as physical or mental impairments that substantially limit everyday activities (e.g., blindness, alcoholism, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.)

    • Conditions that can be medically corrected (medication, glasses) do not fall under ADA


Rights and status of gay males and lesbians

Rights and Status of Gay Males and Lesbians

  • Question: Should homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals?

  • Gay rights movement for equal rights and protections grew in aftermath of Stonewall incident

    • “the shot heard round the homosexual world”

  • In decades past, most states had anti-sodomy laws; now considered unconstitutional

    • Supreme Court upheld a law in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) that made homosexual conduct between two adults a crime

    • Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that such laws violate 14th amendment’s due process law

  • Now 12 states and 230 municipalities have laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination


Outstanding issues

Outstanding Issues

  • Gays in the Military

    • Clinton (1993) policy “don’t ask, don’t tell”

  • Same-sex Marriages

    • Highly controversial

    • Various states have made movements along these lines

    • Still highly controversial issue

    • Conflict over definition of marriage

  • Child Custody and Adoption

    • Courts now no longer deny custody or visitation to persons solely on the basis of sexual orientation


Rights and status of juveniles

Rights and Status of Juveniles

  • Parents viewed as protectors of children’s rights

  • 26th amendment grants 18-21 year olds the right to vote

  • Most contracts entered into by minors cannot be enforced

  • Parents can be held liable for minor’s negligent actions

  • Minors are sometimes viewed as incapable of criminal intent

  • When minors are tried as adults, they are afforded the same protections, but are subject to adult penalties (including the death penalty)


Discussion questions

Discussion Questions

  • What should the government’s responsibility be when equal protection under the law is not enough to ensure truly equal opportunities for Americans?

  • What still needs to be done in the area of civil rights to achieve greater equality of opportunity and protection from discrimination?


Hot links to internet resources

Hot Links to Internet Resources

  • Book’s Companion Site: http://politicalscience.wadsworth.com/ schmidtbrief2004

  • Wadsworth’s Political Science Site: http://politicalscience.wadsworth.com

  • American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu.org

  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King

  • NAACP: http://www.naacp.org

  • Feminist Majority Foundation: http://www.feminist.org

  • ADA Hotlinks and Documents Center: http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/kinder


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