The Civil Rights Movement

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 5
Words: 1336
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Bachelor

The Declaration of Independence was initially prepared by Thomas Jefferson and formally accepted on July 4, 1976. The concern at hand was the aspiration of the American colonies to attain sovereignty from British Rule. Even though in the Declaration of Independence, the thirteen colonies recognized the requirements of equality, existence, liberty, and contentment but it did not help African Americans to enjoy these rights. The Declaration of Independence shaped the foundation on which the American government is established. Exclusive of this declaration, the United States would not survive as it does these days. (Pilon, 2000)

The Civil Rights Movement in the American South during the 1940s and 1960s involved a diverse group of people. The movement asked officially permitted enforcement of equality for Black Americans that was assured by the Constitution of the United States.

At various points between 1945 and 1966, participants in the movement represented all strata of American life. White Americans joined Blacks in the civil rights struggle; southerners as well as northerners disturbed and troubled, Midwesterners and westerners took part, women along with men dissented. Elderly and young Americans were dynamic in the struggle as well; though, middle school to college students came to the struggle much later than the majority. Not until the 1960s did a significant amount of youth of America join and add their efforts to the movement.

The works of Stuart John Mill have led them to contradictory opinions of the riotous years from 1945 to 1968. However, both provide a gleaming, deviously nuanced summary of the period. John Stuart Mill would have argued to the situation of African Americans that even in the presence of the Declaration of Independence, they could not get the rights. According to him, the offense does not represent harm, and he wished to bound rights only when it would result to direct harm. Mill and his followers believed that freedom of speech was essential to ensure progress, even if the presented opinion was false.

Liberty is one of the supreme thoughts ever to happen as expected. John Stuart Mill’s concept of liberty is the freedom to do everything apart from harming others for the reason that is a contravention of that person’s liberty. As people cannot damage anyone else, they can damage themselves as it is their liberty. If individuals act on their liberty and hurt themselves then society can do nothing to impede them. If society acts then it is redundant paternalism meaning no adult should father another adult. The first disagreement against Mill is that individuals that hurt themselves are performing like children.

The second dispute is that these individuals are dragging society down by wasting their lives. The last but not least disagreement is that these people are terrible examples and the evilest kind of role models that society wants. Mill disproves all of these points of view without the discouragement of his own position by using human nature as his best case. (Mill, 1999, pp 45-49)

What is said “the view from the nation,” in a conflict that “it was the federal government… that played an indispensable role in shaping the fortunes of the civil rights revolution. It is impossible to understand how Blacks achieved first-class citizenship in the South without concentrating on what national leaders did to influence the course of events. It is argued that still after Birmingham and the March on Washington the nation had not been stimulated to crack the legislative logjam over an all-inclusive bill of civil rights.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s congressional wizardry and ethical dedication made it happened. It was as functional as the Selma demonstrations were in getting passage of the Voting Rights Act 1965; Lyndon B. Johnson had inculcated the Justice Department to set up the bill “even before the Selma campaign had begun. Throughout the history of the civil rights struggle, the national state played a key role in determining its outcome.

One is piercingly critical of the “top-down” theory, asserting that the top-down approach falls short to value and understand the function ordinary people performed in changing the state, spotlights approximately exclusively on large-scale spectacular events to the disadvantage of “the real and authentic social infrastructure that continued the struggle on daily basis,” and highlights only legislative modifications at the cost of perceiving the civil rights movement “as a changing experience for persons” (p. 110).

Above all, conceivably, the top-down elucidation promotes a triumphal that marks off black fundamentals as a fringe anthology of ingrates, overlooking that by the end of their lives the gap between Martin Luther King’s thoughts and that of Malcolm X was less than one might imagine”. (Luther, 23) The logical admiration for great organizers like Ella Baker guides him to view with evident commiseration their diverse feelings about “relatively short-term public events” like Birmingham and Selma that were highly influential in the civil rights revolution.

According to Derrick a fresh Atlantis ascends from the deep depths, flashing a mass evacuation of blacks; white confrontation to affirmative action reduces following a detonation that murders Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic liberty assailants promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the atmosphere and bring tons of gold, but in substitute, the haggle aliens take all African Americans back to their world. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the female protagonist of Derrick’s is back in some of these warning symbols, which converse from the lowest point of annoyance and desolation. (Derrick, 1993)

Far from being the solution, American institutions have always played important roles in the creation and maintenance of racism. What happened in the movement was that civil rights activists were able to maneuver around those institutions to alleviate some of the worst features of the system. The federal government played an indispensable role in shaping the fortunes of the civil rights revolution.

However, it is impossible to understand how blacks achieved first-class citizenship right in the South without concentrating on what national leaders in Washington, D.C. did to influence the course of events leading to the extension of racial equality. Powerful presidents, congressional lawmakers, and members of the Supreme Court provided the legal instruments to challenge racial segregation and disfranchisement. Without their crucial support, the struggle against white supremacy in the South still would have taken place but would have lacked the power and authority to defeat the state government’s intent on keeping blacks in subservient positions.

In the 1960s the organizers from the group of youth who were responsible for a change in the state were not lead by any compelling state leader. Far from being a complete break with the past; the work of these members of youth was based directly on the effort of an older generation of campaigners like Amzie Moore, Ella Baker, Aaron Henry, Septima Clark, and Medgar Evers. Blacks used particular paths that were means of uplifting such as the ballot in securing their rights.

A useful peculiarity should be drawn between the black freedom struggle and the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement with its contextual meaning is required to be seen as a separate and coherent part of the long freedom struggle. (Rife, 2002) One should realize how much admiration the former President Lyndon Johnson had for the legislative procedure, determinedly heartening those civil rights support work to change the cultural practice of racial tyranny through state and federally legitimate laws. This state of mind was in noticeable disparity to those who felt irritated with the lethargy of legal means such as Martin Luther King. Though King is mainly heralded as a non-violent figure, Johnson was adamant by King, as an effect of the latter’s inclination to undermine the legislature in support of the protest.

Only the intentional formation of crises by King and others strained Washington to perform in really decisive ways. The federal government made racial reform possible, but Blacks in the South made it essential. It is not an either/or choice. Scholars believing a more bottom-up approach are not denying the critical importance of national institutions.

Works Cited

Derrick Bell, Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, 240 pages, Basic Books (1993), ISBN-10: 0465068146.

Luther Martin, Jr. King, Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st Ed edition (1994), ISBN-10: 0062509551, p-48.

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. Peterborough, Canada: Broadview Press, 1999.

Pilon Roger, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, Cato Institute (2000), ISBN-10: 1882577981, p-58.

Rife Douglas, History Speaks: Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions (Historic Documents), Teaching & Learning Co (2002), ISBN-10: 1573103500, p-48.