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Important Court Cases - 20th century american history - Research Paper Example

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The Legal Evolution of Civil Rights in America No one can doubt that racism has been a serious problem throughout the history of America. Slavery played a major role in the development of the American economy in its early days and lead to a vicious war that pitted brother against brother…
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Important Court Cases - 20th century american history
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Download file to see previous pages History tells us about the things we should never forget. How civil rights in America were properly respected and enforced by both the courts and the government is something we need to understand fully. It is the cornerstone of America's greatness today and into the future. The legal history of civil rights goes back many decades, but the most important cases appear after the Second World War when increased urbanization was reshaping American demography and social situation (Marable 1984, 14). The first and most significant landmark case was Brown vs. Board of Education. Few can dispute the historical role played by this case which almost certainly is the most famous American court case of the 20th century. This case effectively ended segregation in the United States and proved very controversial at the time (Kluger 1975, 12). The case involved parents in Kansas and elsewhere who wanted to send their children to the schools closest to them, but because of their race were forced to send their children to black schools a great distance away. They launched a suit arguing that having separate schools for different races was unconstitutional and a violation of their rights. The Supreme Court agreed with them 9-0. A book by Myrdal showed the court that the state of black schools was inferior (Myrdal 1944). The court realized that schools were separate but not equal. A second case involving similar issues, often referred to as Brown II, led to the Court declaring that the desegregation of American schools should be done soon and quickly (Ogletree 2004, 8). This gave impetus to changes that began to happen across the country. But that was not the end of the consequences of this decision. This was not a court case decided in a vacuum. In its wake, the governor of Arkansas used the national guard to try to block black students from entering white schools (Kluger 1975, 90). He refused to accept the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead, he wanted to play to his racist base. President Eisenhower was forced to send in the army to ensure the rule of law. He nationalized the Arkansas guard and saw that the law was enforced. In Alabama, a similar event occurred involving the governor there. These dramatic confrontation set the stage for much of the civil rights movement and the rise of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Civil rights leaders saw that the Constitution could protect them even if local sheriffs and lawmakers did everything they could to prevent changes from being made. Inspired by these cases, they pressed their issues by using non-violent protests. Education was just one legal battle fought during the civil war movement. People wanted to have less government control over their personal lives. Who was the government to say who a person could marry in a free country? And yet racist laws in much of the South prevented blacks and whites from marrying. Another significant case in the history of the civil rights movement was Loving vs. Virginia (1967). This was a case involving the marriage between a black woman and a white man, which the state of Virginia held to be illegal under their anti-miscegenation laws. These laws were in place based on a biblical conception of creation and marriage. Many people at the time believed that God had placed the races on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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