The Struggle for Civil Rights in the United States

The world is characterized by imbalanced resource endowment and varying racial, cultural, physical and mental definitions of human beings. The inherent differences among individuals, societies and nations across the globe have formed the foundation for the socio-economic and political inequalities. Strategic advantages based on the state of development of a community have led to social dependence and unjust domineering of given parties over others. Social and political freedom has been a quest for many societies as a way of enhancing individual capacity and the realization of social progress. The natural justice that forms the fabric of humanity demands the treatment of every person with dignity. However, human history has been characterized by the gross violation of the social and political rights as witnessed in the ages of slavery and colonization. Communities have been established on codes of conduct and cultures that tend to serve the interests of the influential and the people in power while exploiting the poor. The contemporary society can be depicted as having made significant steps in advocating and upholding for political, social and economic freedom and equality through civil lobbying (Ohlin et al., 30). As the world advance regarding technological innovations and globalization, the nature of social injustices shifts accordingly thus bringing forth new concerns. Countries and international bodies including the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have embarked on regulatory reforms and constitutional amendments to ensure that equity is attained in local and international socio-political and economic atmosphere (Mahoney, 12). This paper will analyze the development, defining elements, renown figures, and the implications of civil rights as the world strive to attain just and equitable human coexistence.

Development of Civil Rights

            Civil rights can be defined as the rights of individuals, organizations or societies in the national and international fronts to social, economic and political freedom and equality. As the ideology of civilization spread across the world, people realized the need for a fair and just society as a way of developing and ascertaining order. The disparities in the global economic and political development in the past saw the enlightened nations of Europe explore the world and established colonies where the colonial subjects were expected to provide labor and paid taxes to the European masters. Also, the spread of Christianity and education provided a basis under which the then unexposed societies realized that there was a need for social and political freedom and equality as humanity was equal in all measures. The development of civil rights can be traced back to the struggle for independence during the colonial era. The oppressive rules and administration imposed on the colonized nations denied the victims the social-political and economic equality and freedom. While consensus is a vital element for any civilized society, the struggle for the attainment of civil rights has been characterized by violence and loss of lives. Most countries in the world are composed of people from the same race, a cultural, and economic background which forms a convenient basis for the attainment of freedom and equity. In a country like the United States of America, the nation’s demographic diversity is depicted as the factor contributing to the civil rights violation and campaigns. Global debates on civil rights are highly linked to the United States of America due to the slavery and racial discrimination experienced in the country during and after the colonial era.

The discovery of the United States and the Columbian Exchange led to the immigration of people into the continent with the importation of technology and a new culture which revitalized the demographic definition of the country. Upon the realization of independence in the United States, conflicts arose between the member states on the treatment of the slaves who had been shipped from Africa to work in the colonial plantations and industries. The debates on civil rights of the African Americans and the American natives led to the American Civil war between 1861 and 1865 (Marková, 8). After the American civil war, the country embarked in the reconstruction era where various social and political reforms alongside the constitutional amendments were developed to ensure equity in the country. Civil rights in the United States of America stretched beyond the racial discrimination to include gender disparity. The need to attain gender equity saw the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that allowed women to vote in the United States. Despite the presence of the first, fourth, sixth, eighth, and the fourteenth amendments in the United States Constitution, violation of civil rights in the country persisted leading to the civil rights movement between 1954 and 1968. The fight for civil rights has made great impact; however, cases of police brutality are still rampant that has left movements including the Black Lives Matter in the United States active to date.

Renown Figures in the Struggle for Civil Rights

            The struggle to attain civil rights saw many people make sacrifices in the United States of America for the realization of social, economic and political equality and freedom. The African American communities in the United States of America felt that the country’s administrative systems denied the society equal access to employment, housing, education, voting and public facilities, unlike the white Americans. The agitation for equality saw the use of peaceful and violent protests against the government to bring forth reforms. The success of the civil rights movement was possible due to the contributions and sacrifices made by certain individuals in the country. The resultant effect of the civil rights movements was the change in societal views regarding the pursuit of justice, sacrifice and equality in the United States. The establishment of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 marked terminated the racial segregation and discrimination be allowing for equity in public places across the United States of America.

            Martin Luther King Jr. who was a Baptist minister embarked on civil-rights activism, and his efforts through non-violent speeches and matches reiterated the need for equality in the United States. Luther King Jr. through his speech ‘I Have a Dream’ that was delivered in 1963 emphasized the need and importance of freedom and overall equality between all races. Also, Malcolm X through his joining of the Nation of Islam played a pivotal role in the fight for civil rights. While Malcolm X used violent means in the struggle for equity, his efforts bore fruits and inspired many people. The civil unrest that characterized the United States during the Civil rights movement was justified by the assertion that peace can only be attained where there is freedom (Mack-Williams, 20).

Elements of Civil Rights

            Civil rights can be attained in a society characterized by certain vital components that empower individuals and allow people to exercise social and political freedom freely. An equal nation is marked by the protection of freedom of press, religion, peaceful assembling and speech of the people. There is a need for the citizen’s rights to be far from unfounded seizures and searches unless there is probable cause and the government should uniformly prohibit unusual and cruel punishments. Also, a country ought to uphold person’s rights to liberty, life, equal protection from the law and property ownership. While the United States Constitution protects the given elements, the United States administrative structures tend to violate the given provisions relative to the African American society (Weatherspoon, 22). Police brutality is among the identified atrocities that deem to violate the civil rights of the United States citizens.

Implications of Civil Rights

            The realization of civil rights is seen as a way of attaining peace and progress in societies. The ability of individuals to access social, economic and political freedom and equality creates a competent society that is guided by the need to attain excellence in a just manner. Also, equity is a source of economic motivation which is bound to lead to innovations and increased consumer goods production and delivery leading to higher living standards. Political freedom is an important tenet of social progress where citizens can choose leaders based on the contributions they can make towards empowering people and representing the interests of the electorate. Also, the realization of the civil rights is bound to curb the lawlessness witnessed in societies as individuals will operate within the confines of the law with the expectation of being accorded justice and legal protection.


            While the steps in the struggle towards the realization of civil rights in the United States of America are recommendable, much needs to be done to uphold social cohesion. Isolated cased of civil rights violation is evident but the public ought to be enlightened on the need to appreciate one another and acknowledge mistakes while playing an individual role in the protection of the law.

Work Cited

Ohlin, Nancy, and Roger Simó. The Civil Rights Movement. New York, NY : Little Bee Books, 2017

Mahoney, Emily. American Civil Rights Movement. Rosen Publishing Group: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2017

Marková, Ivana. Human Awareness: Its Social Development. London : Routledge, , 2017

Mack-Williams, Kibibi. African American History. Ipswich, Massachusetts: Salem Press, a division of EBSCO Information Services, Inc.; Amenia, NY: Grey House Publishing, 2017

Weatherspoon, Floyd D. African-American Males and the Us Justice System of Marginalization: A National Tragedy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Pivot, 2014

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