Chapter 5: The Struggle for Civil Rights What Students Should Learn from This Chapter Explore the seven steps to winning civil rights in the United States. Review the African American experience that set the pattern for civil rights. Assess women’s quest for economic and political rights. Examine the political experience of Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. Consider the rights of other groups, including disabled people, same-sex partners, and transgender individuals. Outline I. Winning Rights: The Political Process. Civil rights are the freedom to participate in the full life of the community—to vote, use public facilities, and exercise equal economic opportunity. A. Seven Steps to Political Equality 1. The group defines itself. 2. The group challenges society. 3. The stories change. 4. Federalism comes into play. 5. The executive branch often breaks the ice. 6. Congress legislates a blockbuster. 7. It all ends up in court. B. How the Courts Review Cases. The Court must determine if acts of the government violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee. “No state shall . . . deprive any person of . . . the equal protection of the laws.” 1. Suspect Categories a. Any legislation involving race, ethnicity, religion, or legal aliens faces strict scrutiny . b. Does the government have a compelling government interest in singling out a race or an ethnicity? 2. Quasi-Suspect Categories . Quasi-suspect categories—any legislation (federal, state, or local) that introduces sex-based categories has to rest on an important state purpose. 3. Nonsuspect Categories . Legislation based on age, sexual orientation, or physical handicaps simply has to have some rational connection between the legislation and a legitimate government purpose. II. Race and Civil Rights: Revolt against Slavery A. The Clash over Slavery 1. Abolition. A political movement that demanded an immediate and unconditional end to slavery. 2. Economics. More slave states meant more slave labor, which drove out paid labor. 3. Politics
a. Constant negotiation to balance the number of slave states versus free states because this affected the number of each state’s seats in Congress. b. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 drew a line through the Louisiana Territory; all new states and territories north of the line except Missouri would be free; everything south of the line would be open to slavery. c. The Compromise of 1850 permitted California to enter as a free state and allowed the residents of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether to be free or slave states (a policy known as popular sovereignty ). B. Dred Scott v. Sandford 1. 1857 Supreme Court decision that held no territory could restrict slavery, much less elevate blacks to citizenship.
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- Spring '16
- Kevin Jeffries
- Civil Rights, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution