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CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE USA

Blagoj Gjelevski

SHORT HISTORY OF THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN USA If you make a research about the American history you will notice that it is woven through all the decades with the struggle for civil rights. They are very important and in the same time an indelible part of that history. „Civil rights are guarantees of government to provide equal opportunities, privileges and treatment under the law of all individuals”. 1 They include the ensuring of peoples' physical integrity and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
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However, the civil rights differ from the civil liberties.

Civil liberties are rights that individuals have against government. Some of the basic civil liberties are: the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement. The phrase "civil rights" is a translation of Latin ius civis (rights of citizens).3 Civil rights have been denied and suppressed since the formation of the United States of America. Even the creators of the Constitution faced a dilemma. There was a big controversy and debate about the issue of slavery of the black people. After independence, several northern states prohibited slavery, while southern states retained it. The result in the end was that slavery, by not being prohibited by the Constitution, was accepted as constitutional. Because of this, the decades of the 19 th century will be filled with great struggle for abolishing the slavery. After the Civil War (1861-1865), the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth
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Coleman, Goldstein, Howell, Understanding American Politics and Government, (Longman: New York), 2008, p. 184 2 The Civil Rights act of 1964. Available online at: ourdocuments.gov 3 Mears, T. Lambert, Analysis of M. Ortolan's Institutes of Justinian, Including the History and, p. 75.

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It is important just to be mentioned some of the most important. will emerge as the most crucial moments for the history of Civil Rights. by the Supreme Court of Justice. This decision was a beginning of a page in the 4 Coleman. in the time that will come. we won’t retain a lot on the decisions of the Supreme Court that concerned Civil Rights. ratified in December 1865. ratified in July 1868. Brown v. The Supreme Court decision from 1896. p. The Thirteenth amendment. and other aspects of daily life. Ferguson. West Virginia (1880) case. the interpretations of these amendments. The Fourteenth amendment. The Fifteenth amendment. made the slavery unconstitutional anywhere within the USA. All concerned civil rights for blacks. public accommodations. From the time that these three amendments were ratified. Kans. commonly referred to as the Civil War amendments.Amendments. In the 20th century some organizations for Civil Rights were formed.. however. color. It establishes that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of a United States and also the state in which he or she lives. 2008. The Supreme Court in the decision. were added to the Constitution.”4 However. Howell. or whether the individual had previously been a slave or was descendent from a slave. 186 2 . Goldstein. ratified in March 1870. The doctrine of state action was established after the Strauder v. has had an extraordinary impact on American politics and life. Understanding American Politics and Government. Here. confirmed the need for segregated facilities. Plessy v. Board of Education of Topeka. made it unconstitutional for the national government or state governments to deny someone the right to vote based on race. It then declares that no state shall „deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This made it clear that former slaves were fully citizens. (Longman: New York). The Jim Crow system of laws separated the races in schools. unanimously agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. This was the introduction into the separate but equal doctrine. a lot of decisions of the Supreme Court will shape the condition of the Civil rights for the African-Americans. One of the most important was NAACP (Nation Association for the Advancement of the Colored People) formed in 1909.

edu/entries/affirmative-action/. Roosevelt.. gender. In many other countries. are active and fierce up until today. into the Public schools and Universities. Du Bois. Somewhere is only at the level of a debate in the legislative body. However. this policy caused big refusal and unpopularity at the whites. affirmative action. or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. this was not achieved easily. Eisenhower and Kennedy. Latinas. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race. these civil rights were extended.”5 The policy of affirmative action was one of the topics concerning the rights of the minorities in the USA.stanford. However. Malcolm X and Rosa Parks. But the policy of affirmative action is controversial and a question of big debates. Truman. education. this policy has some degree of involvement into the official state policy.10. Even before.2011 3 . this policy was directed towards creating quotas for enrolling the minorities such as the African-Americas. „Affirmative action means positive steps taken to increase the representation of minorities in areas of employment. W. were some of the most influential leaders and activists for Civil Rights. B. THE POLICY OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION From all the policies concerning the Civil Right. E. Martin Luther King Jr. all the minorities 5 Stanford Encyclopedia. Macedonia is a good example of implemented policy of affirmative action. Also. not only in the US.11. but somewhere is deeply incorporated into the system of the state. certainly one of the most controversial is the policy of affirmative action. Asians and Native Americans. There were a lot of protests against discrimination and segregation on the base of race and ethnicity. and business from which they have been historically excluded. but especially after the Framework Agreement from 2001. Legislation was changed in favor of the civil rights of the minorities. with executive orders of the US Presidents. The debates. concerning this question.recognition of the Civil Rights of the African-Americans. Available online at: http://plato. Mainly.

This is referring especially to the minorities. in order to have at least the same opportunity for success in life. So which side you will support. They are usually the poorest class of the society. 4 . 1963. but by the content of their individual character. They say that although is positive it is still a discrimination. as the whites or as the members of the majority. What is the logic that lies behind this policy and concept? Its proponents claim that it is a mechanism for achieving higher level of equality. And it is obvious that this debate will continue to be one of the most important political issues in the public discourse in future. On the other side. on the majority or on the minority side. They have been suppressed in the past. All the members of society haven’t the same starting positions. the opponents claim that this policy undermine the principle of equality before the law. The government should not give special treatment to some groups of people only because they are members of some racial or ethnic minorities. According to them. but also and for work into the public administration. it is also a denial of the concept of individualism. But. This policy of affirmative action is sometimes referred to as a positive discrimination. as Martin Luther King said in his famous speech in August 28. which is the pillar of the American culture. both sides have strong arguments for their opinion and point of view. depends mainly at which group you belong.have special quotas for enrollment to Public schools and Universities. according to its number in the total population. however. That is why the government should help them with this positive discrimination. There is some percent that each minority should have into the public institutions. They should be judged not by the color of their skin.