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The Civil Rights Issue Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

The issue of Civil Rights has been an ongoing debate in the history of American Politics. The United States of America has attempted twice to reconstruct America’s laws regarding civil rights, specifically for African Americans. The first reconstruction that occurred from 1865 to 1877 introduced the rights of African Americans, such as the right to vote, but it failed to end discrimination. The second reconstruction of the 1950’s was more successful in ending discrimination than the first because a unified government allowed laws to pass with much ease, there was more support for reform from both the citizens and government officials and enforcement was key to see to it that the laws were being implemented
As opposed to the first reconstruction, during the second reconstruction the Democrats had control over the Presidency, Congress, and eventually spread it’s influence over the Supreme Court. After Johnson’s re-election and the redistribution of Congressional seats to the Democrat Party, Democrats dominated both chambers of Congress and the executive branch known as a unified government, in which a political party has control of both the executive branch and congress at the same time. With a democrats having control in both houses of Congress, it made it easier to reach a majority vote on bills, thus solving the collective action problem that Congress faced prior to the second reconstruction. For example, with both the President and Congress supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1957, it eliminated the possibility of a veto from both sides, assuring the passing of the bill. Because bills had a chance of passing in during this era, more laws were made in order to enforce the end of discrimination from areas such as voting rights, with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that gave federal agencies the jurisdiction to take over registration in order to prevent discrimination from states to African American voters and Brown vs. Board of Education that ended discrimination in public schools.
There was also coordination not only between Congress and the President, but also with the judicial branch as well. The supreme court under Chief Earl Warren, supported civil rights act as seen when the court, overturned Plessy v. Ferguson that stated that separate but equal, was constitutional with Brown v. Board of Education. In response to court’s decision, Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights act, that called to an end of segregation in public schools and public accommodations, which strengthened and reinforced the court’s ruling. Because all branches of government were able to act collectively it allowed the transaction costs of bills passing to go down, and enabled the federal government to put their focus on other areas such as enforcement, which was needed in order to put worth in the laws that they passed.
Collective action was not only practiced by the national government but also by citizens that made the second reconstruction successful. Hundreds of...

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