AP®︎/College US Government and Politics
Course: AP®︎/College US Government and Politics > Unit 3Lesson 11: Government responses to social movements
Government responses to social movements: lesson overview
A high-level overview of federal actions to address discrimination on the basis of race and sex.
In response to pressure from civil rights groups, in the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government took action to address discrimination on the basis of race and sex.
|Civil Rights Act of 1964||Legislation barring discrimination in public accommodations, employment, or voting, on the basis of color, national origin, race, religion, or sex. The Civil Rights Act also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to monitor and enforce the law.|
|Title IX||A provision of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prevents schools and universities receiving federal funding from discriminating against female students.|
|Voting Rights Act of 1965||Legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, including the use of literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses.|
Cases to know
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) - Oliver Brown was the father of Linda, an African American third grader who was forced to attend a segregated elementary school. Along with other African American families in the area, Brown sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Under the leadership of future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund sought to prove with this case that segregated public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.
In its decision, the Supreme Court agreed, ruling that “in the field of public education, separate but equal has no place.” This ruling was a crucial victory for the civil rights movement, and later cases challenging segregation built on the precedent set in Brown.
Competing policymaking interests - The federal courts cleared the way for civil rights reform through rulings in a series of cases, starting with Brown v. Board of Education, that invalidated segregation as a violation of the equal protection clause.
After civil rights demonstrations such as the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, President John F. Kennedy and successor Lyndon B. Johnson made passing civil rights legislation a key part of their agendas. Despite opposition from white southern representatives, Congress followed by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discrimination based on race, sex, and other demographic factors.
What motivated the federal government to pass civil rights legislation?
Why did civil rights groups like the NAACP originally focus on winning court cases to advance equal rights, rather than attempting to influence Congress?
Want to join the conversation?
- What motivated the federal government to pass civil rights legislation?(1 vote)
- Based on the lesson page, I think the efforts of interest groups such as the NAACP motivated the federal government to pass civil rights legislation because the NAACP has proved segregation law violated the 14th Amendment through litigation ( Brown v Board of Education ) and other peaceful protest, which captured the federal govt.'s attention and got the federal to quickly resolved the problems.(6 votes)
- Why did civil rights groups focus on winning court cases rather than trying to influence Congress?(2 votes)
- Because winning court cases on things like social justice is much easier/higher chance of winning individual cases rather than having to convince the majority of congress.(1 vote)
- What motivated the federal government?(2 votes)
- what motivated the federal government(0 votes)
- I think it was really the cold war and the outside pressure from other countries. Without the pressure of looking like the US wasn't acting like it should be, as far as what it was fighting for, I don't think it would have been a unanimous vote.(3 votes)