Impact of Campaigns on the World

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 9
Words: 2660
Reading time:
12 min
Study level: Bachelor


The 20th century was a period of intense campaigns for social change as there was general enlightenment of the masses across the globe. Campaigns that advocated for social change during this period were vital in ensuring the progress witnessed in the modern world. These movements were crucial in granting equality to various races and communities while ensuring humanity’s advancement. The impacts of various campaigns for social and political advancement correlate with the work of various philosophers and are essential in the conception of their ideas and their theories. Michel Foucault was a French philosopher and historian whose work was vital in influencing the way people conceived various aspects of society, including power and sexuality. The ideas by Michel Foucault were massively inspired by the 19th-century revolutions and changes that were commonplace.

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These theories would later become vital in influencing modern thinking and offering alternatives to ideas from other thinkers such as Karl Marx, who has been immense over the last few decades. The theories by Michel Foucault often address aspects of society that are not sufficiently explored by other thinkers of his time. The people who came before us made immense sacrifices to ensure that we enjoy the liberty and success that is so commonplace at the moment. The sacrifices included their own freedom and lives to the extent that some of them did not live to witness the vision they fought for. This essay is an analysis of the impact of the civil rights movement and the Mexican-American civil rights movement through the lens of Michel Foucault’s theories on power. The two movements massively transformed the world, bringing every race closer to equality and promoting lasting peace.

Michel Foucault on Power

Michel Foucault looked at power differently, transcending the popular definitions of the concept that focused on governance. He thought of power as an intricate correlation of various aspects of life such as economics, education, and sexual relations (Foucault, 1982). He chose to analyze power as an intricate web of strategies that emanate from various quotas that eventually exercise control over how people operate. The civil rights movement was a struggle for political and social change for the African Americans in the United States that began in the late 1940s and ended in the late 1960s. The group sought to change how power was exercised over them and acquire a grip on some of the strategies that had an impact on their lives. The group was subjected to inequality on the political, economic, education, and social fronts. Black people in the US wanted to end the discrimination they were subjected to on account of their skin color and gain equal legal rights.

The Mexican American civil rights movement was also a struggle for control of various aspects of power that are described as strategies by Michel Foucault. The movement culminates in the 1960s with widespread protests against the status quo that renders the Mexican population the US poor and desolate. The movement was vital in securing equal rights for the Mexicans and opening opportunities for them to thrive in the US. Both revolutions were struggles against racism, slavery, white supremacy, and discrimination. The state influenced how the citizens lived their lives and consequently maintained a hold on them and control over their progress. This enabled evils such as discrimination and inequality to thrive in society. The changes that occurred with the movements, however, indicate massive enlightenment of the masses and widespread tiredness with the status quo, and a quest for change.

Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement highlights a period of triumph for the black community in America. It does not present an accurate start of the struggle as the civil rights movement in the 20th century only highlights the success attained from decades of efforts (Morris, 1986). An understanding of the history of the black community is vital in the comprehension of the reasons for their struggle and uprising. The African-American community was a popular workforce in the country and was treated inhumanely due to their skin color (Lawson, 1991). The numbers of these people gradually increased with the greater acquisition of slaves by the white supremacist. The white supremacist had control over the lives of black people and regulated their health, politics, and economic rights. As Michel Foucault highlights, these are crucial aspects of power (Turkel, 1990). The black people were not allowed to reproduce, and this culminated in some slaves being castrated by their masters. This treatment angered the people and their united efforts culminated in a revolution.

Black people also revolted because they were not allowed to vote for leaders and this highlights their seclusion from the political process. Michel Foucault notes that politics are a crucial aspect of power and the right to vote is essential for determining how other aspects of power are exercised (Escobar, 1984). He terms the other tenets as strategies and denotes that the correlation of all these factors is the true exercise of authority. Black people began the campaign so that their input in the political process would be given greater consideration (Hall, 2007). The end of the Second World War and the participation of the black community were enlightening for the masses. Michel Foucault notes that education and consequent enlightenment of the masses is a critical ingredient of power and its control (Foucault, 2021). The experience from witnessing the standards of living experienced by people in other parts of the world was motivating and provoking, setting the stage for a revolt.

The black people revolted because they could not attend certain schools as they were deemed exclusive to the white people. This meant that the African Americans were locked from certain careers and professions due to the lack of expertise (Bloom, 2019). The black community wanted their children to have a fair chance at making a decent life for themselves. Michel Foucault highlights the importance of professionals in the power dynamics and the impact they have in determining the ruling force (Foucault, 2021). The use of various institutions of societal control is also a crucial aspect of power and its exercise over the masses. Prisons, schools, and healthcare centers were vital instruments in the struggle and the black community sought to have a greater grip on them. The police were also a vital component of the oppressive regime and were used to deter efforts by the African Americans to unite and demand their rights (Dierenfield, 2013). They meted violence on these people to disrupt their efforts and this caused massive deaths across the country. The movement sought to have the police treat all the American citizens equally and end discrimination by the police service.

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Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement

The Mexican American civil rights movement fought for the equality of the Mexican population in the United States. These people were subjected to poverty and discrimination by the white supremacists who were also responsible for similar suffering amongst the African Americans in the country (Rosales, 1997). The struggle was dedicated to the fight for land, a vital tool of production and economic power. Michel Foucault enlists economic power as control that emanates from the ability of certain individuals to direct means of production (Roberts, 2005). This was a pertinent issue for the Mexican population in the United States as they were not allowed to own land (Orozco, 2010). They wanted their land grants restored, the rights of the workers upheld, and their economic freedom guaranteed. This movement corresponded with a period when the United States was fighting a war in Vietnam and the attention of the state was divided.

The Mexicans in America understood the importance of institutions and their correlation to power. They comprehended the ability of these corporations to influence action and policy on various topics, hence their demands did not stop at economic freedom (Kells, 2006). They demanded better enrollment into educational institutions that were a reserve for white supremacists. They also wanted voting and political rights as this would enhance their involvement in leadership and direction. They demanded these changes through demonstrations that rocked the states they were predominantly settled (Del Castillo, 2008). The period was marked with massive recognition of the power of mass action. The people understood that their resistance to the status quo from a unified front would assure them more success compared to personal efforts (Behnken, 2011). Michel Foucault notes that there is an additional dimension of power that emanates from the unity of a society towards a common cause (Lynch, 1998). This encompasses one of the multiple strategies of power that are discussed in his theories on authority.

The movement began with strong agitations by popular characters such as Rodolfo Gonzales who advocated for land rights for his people in the country. He inspired his people to fight for the same course and compel the government to honor them by granting these rights (MacLean, 2007). The protests included people of all age groups and Mexican descent (Carpio, 2016). The impact of some characters in the dynamics of power is also addressed by Michel Foucault who notes that their ability to influence the masses is vital (Taylor, 2014). The protest initially involved adults and towards the latter stages culminated to include the school-going children who wanted their right to education upheld (Orozco, 2021). The involvement of the section of a population most affected by a certain shift in power is vital in ensuring the envisioned change is achieved. The involvement of the children was vital to bringing an end to the uprising came to an amicable end that saw the aggrieved Mexican population in the US attain their rights.

Changes from the Campaigns

The two campaigns highlighted above were vital in creating waves of change and causing more awareness on the global stage. The civil rights movement eventually led to the achievement of equal rights for African Americans in America (Andrews and Gaby, 2015). The wheels of racism and racial segregation were put to a halt and their impact slowed as all the races realized the evil of inequality. Black people were allowed to participate in democratic processes by both electing their representatives in the policy houses and also the national politics (Miller, Hendricks, and Zain, 2020). The leadership of the nation was no longer inclined to focus on the needs of white people as they had an additional population to impress (Watson, 2020). The victory in the political scene changed how black people are viewed by other races. It stimulated independence in African countries that were colonized, sparked a conversation on the different races in the world, and provided lasting insights on why diversity is the true strength. This single campaign was an eye-opener for oppressed races and groups in other parts of the world and encouraged similar action that created the human rights.

The civil rights movement combated the segregation that black people were subjected to in the various institutions that wield power in the country. African Americans were allowed the liberty to attain an education in various institutions including prestigious universities (Turk and Berman, 2018). This led to the development of professionals within this race, a vital part of the community that has spearheaded additional development. The African Americans can now secure employment in various sectors of the economy and contribute paid labor instead of slavery that was the cause of the uprising long before the 20th century (Robbins and Tieso, 2021). African Americans now own land in the US, a crucial fruit of the civil rights movement (Briscoe, 2019). Equal land and property ownership for the community was vital in providing the rest of the world with a perspective on possessions. The precedent has promoted modern-day wealth creation and stimulated economic development in all parts of the globe. This is because the entire world realized that given an equal chance, every person can become maximally productive, ensuring global progression.

The movement also enabled freedom of movement and association for the African Americans as they can now traverse the US without fear of persecution. Black people now have a say over their reproduction and ability to increase their numbers in the country through better modern healthcare (Vickery and Salinas, 2019). The uprising has enhanced black people’s innovation which has been essential in the development of the entire globe. The world is better because the creativity shackles against the black community were eliminated (Francis, 2019). These people have made innovations such as the artificial heart pacemaker control by Boykin Otis that continues to save countless lives. Similar inventions have occurred across the globe and this is because equal treatment has eliminated a huge yoke that hampered creativity.

The civil rights movement has been monumental in encouraging uprisings against oppressive regimes in the modern world. Those leading modern revolutions borrow from the lessons of the civil rights movement in strategy and motivation (Mazumder, 2018). This includes the “black lives matter movement” in the US in 2020 where the black community opposed systemic racism that was institutionalized to discriminately harm them (Drakulich et al., 2020). The success of the civil rights movement encouraged those who took to the streets to believe that their course was not in vain.

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The Mexican-American civil rights movement secured land and property ownership rights for the Mexicans in America. They were able to achieve political equality with the state allowing their participation in the democratic process of their nation. Mexicans were represented in the houses of parliament responsible for legislation and their interests met (Clayton, 2018). The public forums required their participation in policymaking and this revolutionized their lives. The right to education of Mexican-Americans was part of the struggle that had called upon school-going children to provide their input. Education has been vital in ensuring that American institutions exhibit a representative national image (Keith and Monroe, 2015). The attainment of education for the previously segregated groups has been essential in promoting competition in the academic sector and increasing the number of educated global citizens. The inclusion of Mexicans in the development of the nation in a manner that promotes hard work and dedication has been more productive for the economy than forced labor ever was. America initially attained its status as a global leader on the backs of slaves and oppressed people but has maintained it through the promotion of paid labor and freedom. The entire world, in turn, emulated this model and success has been widespread in every sector.

The success of the movement has been crucial in influencing modern-day revolutionaries in the world. They are better capable of representing the needs of their people by relying on the methods employed by the revolutionaries during the movement. They are dedicated and inspired by previous success to demand more from the government in the attainment of absolute equality (Riches, 2017). The United States of America has made massive strides in the assurance of equality amongst its diverse population yet these efforts leave a lot to be desired. Borrowing from previous struggles and strategies by the movements, the marginalized communities continue to liberate themselves from the shackles of oppression and inequality.


In conclusion, campaigns for social equality and justice have been an integral part of society as people demand better from those in power. These movements have shaped the trajectory of the world in unimaginable ways and paved the road for unprecedented success. Various theorists have made deep studies and investigations of the dynamics of power to either promote or critique the various movements. Michel Foucault believed that power is existent in every facet of life and cannot be summarily defined as political authority alone. His work is in tandem with the various revolutions such as the civil rights movement by the African Americans and the Mexican civil rights movement. Both movements were initiated by unsatisfied masses seeking change and both achieved change. The changes were characterized by better political, economic, educational, and social rights. The success of such efforts claims credit for the advancement in the human race in health, warfare, and politics.

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