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Civil Rights Paper - Essay Example

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Summary
The Civil Rights Movement was a defining period in American history. Some say it was the fulcrum upon which America turned, shaping the history that would come after from that which came before. American history can be defined as what happened pre-Civil Rights and what happened post-Civil Rights…
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Civil Rights Paper

Download file to see previous pages... First-hand accounts of the Civil Rights Movement are common. They provide a superb window into the United States of the time. One of the things that make America such a strange country is that it was founded as a beacon of liberty, and was indeed the freest country in the world for much of the 18th and 19th centuries—if you were white. The flip side was that millions of Americans were slaves—treated like objects or animals. How could this dichotomy exist during this time in American history? The answer is that it could not continue to exist—it would be destroyed by the Civil War. While many Americans lament the loss of life during the Civil War and the destruction wrought by the dispute, the truth is that there was a glorious side to the War. It set millions of people free. One of the great predictors of this was John Quincy Adams. He was a president in the 1820s and died before the war began. Nevertheless, his first-hand account of what slavery meant to the United States is a very important aspect of our understanding of the United States at this time. In his memoirs he wrote: If slavery be the destined sword of the hand of the destroying angel which is to sever the ties of this Union, the same sword will cut in sunder the bonds of slavery itself. A dissolution of the Union for the cause of slavery would be followed by a servile war in the slave-holding States, combined with a war between the two severed portions of the Union. It seems to me that its result might be the extirpation of slavery from this whole continent; and, calamitous and desolating as this course of events in its progress must be, so glorious would be its final issue, that, as God shall judge me, I dare not say that it is not to be desired (Haysville). An account such as this one really breathes new life into our understanding of the precursor to Civil Rights Movement. In his memoir, Adams shows us just what America should be and what a cancer slavery and racism truly are. Without this kind of language it would be hard to grasp the full dimensions of the conflict that would come—both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Flash forward to the 1960s. A hundred years have passed since the slaves were emancipated and yet little has truly changed. African Americans cannot vote and have few rights. Something must be done about this situation. And so the Civil Rights movement was born. This was a gathering of millions of Americans who believed that the promise of American has not yet been fulfilled. They came from all backgrounds and races and they all believed in the worth of their country and themselves. They believed that America should truly be a beacon for freedom. Their leader was Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose speeches and writings provide an excellent view of this incredible historical movement. Few men left us much of a mark on the movement as Martin Luther King Jr. King Jr. is famously known today as a great speaker, but his words are more than great rhetoric, they are a depiction of a whole era and the soul of the movement. We understand from just a few sentences what the Movement means to the country, when in a Birmingham jail, King says: You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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