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Civil Rights Movements - Essay Example

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The United States is a diverse country racially and ethnically. It comprises of six distinct races namely; whites, Asians, African-Americans, American Indians, Native Americans and other races.As a result, there are constant cultural differences resulting in friction and warfare…
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Civil Rights Movements
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Download file to see previous pages The United States is a diverse country racially and ethnically. It comprises of six distinct races namely; whites, Asians, African-Americans, American Indians, Native Americans and other races.As a result, there are constant cultural differences resulting in friction and warfare. Before political independence, the Americans depended on the Europeans for survival through provision of labour and other essential services. America was thus under the control of British until 1776 when it declared its independence. America was divided into North and South and differences existed between the two. The south was dependent on cotton plantations and depended solely on agriculture and therefore required cheap labour in the cotton plantations. This prompted slavery in the region as a source of cheap labour. On the other hand, the north depended on industries and turned cotton into finished goods. Urbanization was also rampant due to growth of cities and immigration and did not advocate for slavery. This often brought about conflicts between the north and south prompting the civil war in 1861-1865 (Jones, 1996). The whites were considered a superior race compared to the others. Racial discrimination was therefore evident and continues to plague America in all aspects of life including social, political, economic and cultural areas. The American independence declared all humans as equal and has inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and the constitution defended these rights. On this basis, civil rights movements were formed to fight for the rights of the minorities especially segregation and racial discrimination. The movement was particularly powerful in the south where minorities were often mistreated especially due to their conservatism nature and existence of Ku Klux Klan who were resistant to change. This paper discusses and analyzes civil rights movements operations and the varying ideas about how social, political, economic and cultural change could be achieved in the United States. American Civil War In order to understand the civil rights movements, it is essential to understand the circumstances surrounding the civil war as it formed the basis for the movements. The war had the worst casualties than all the other wars that had been fought in America including the world wars. According to McPherson (1990), America was experiencing rapid growth in population, territory size and economy as a whole. The population explosion was due to immigration and high birth rates in the north due to industrialization and urbanization. America was also involved in acquisition of new territories through conquering and purchasing such as the Indian Territory hence territorial expansion. Economic growth was a result of industrialization and increased incomes and cheap labour from slavery. The growth led to inequalities in wealth distribution, cultural erosion and increased slavery for the blacks. This often led to class, ethnic and sectional conflicts between north and south. The civil war was prompted by economic and social differences between the north and the south, state versus federal rights, slavery, growth of abolitionist movement as well as the election of Abraham Lincoln among others (Jones, 1996).The south was an agrarian plantation economy and remained bound by traditional values. Family ties, kinship and hierarchy were still important and the south fought to preserve these values. Slavery was thus essential for the regions economy and culture. There was also slow population growth due to migration of people to the cities in the north. The north on the other hand was an industrial capitalist economy characterized by high population growth. Traditional values are of less importance as people from different races worked together in the industrial economy. These conflicting ideologies often led to sectional conflict between the north and south and consequently the civil war. Another factor that led to the civil war ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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