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US history

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Lameese Damiri

on 9 May 2010

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Transcript of US history

Minority groups have affected the US constitution and the Declaration of Independence significantly. Minority groups, among many others, have struggled to progress and achieve rights, and/or changed the view of American society and greatly affected the US constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The minority groups that affected the US constitution and/or the Declaration of Independence that I will outline about are:
Women African Americans Homosexuality Women have challenged the US constition and/or the
Declaration of Independence by: Ninetieth amendment
The nineteenth amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Although women did not achieve as many rights as men, their struggle was a progress to change the view of the American society, and have been successful to a great extent to challenge the US constitution in ratifying their privileged rights. As the Declaration of independence states that all men and women are created equal, women were subordinated to men and were not as equal as men. However, women have challenged the Declaration of Independence by standing up and gaining rights that diminished some of the differences between both genders.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in May 1869. These women had reacted to the 15th Amendment, passed that year, which accorded emancipated black men the vote—but not women. The NWSA chose to agitate for another Constitutional amendment. A similar, but more moderate organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, approached the state legislatures, rather than the federal government, to win women the vote. These women, amongst many others, have challenged the US constitution by achieving the right to vote, and have challenged the Declaration of Independence in marking its words that women are as equal as men.
Also... Seneca Falls Convention

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others, set up this convention that outlined the goals that the women’s rights activists would pursue. The resolutions drafted would later become concrete ideas that shape women’s rights in America. It was the moment which began the struggle to remove the barrier between men and women in America, achieving equality. The Seneca Falls Convention and the women who fought for their rights challenged the US constitution and the Declaration of Independence because the women and the men in this meeting rewrote the Constitution to be gender neutral, thus recognizing the need for gender equality in American society.
African Americans challenged the US constitution and/or the Declaration of Independence by: African Americans' Civil Rights

The civil rights movement grew out of a century of grassroots efforts in a long struggle for racial justice for African Americans. African Americans were represented as property rather than human beings. This drastically challenged the US constitution AND the declaration of independence since it was greatly significant for African Americans to have the US constitution ratify their civil right. Although the Declaration of Independence clearly states "that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," African Americans suffered years of inequality and mistreatment and did not achieve their fundamentals. They fought for rights that the Declaration of Independence had always claimed they have. This makes African Americans primarily significant for their efforts by protesting for their civil rights and insured that the Declaration's promise of freedom and inequality becomes an actual reality.
Abolition to Slavery

Before the 13th amendment, slavery was common throughout the United States, especially in the southern plantations. African slaves were shipped to North America and traded within the continent. They were treated like items and many were forced to work under harsh condition, abuse, and even torture. As a result of the many rebellions by angered slaves who demanded their freedom and the support of the Northern states that criticized the practice of slavery, the 13th Amendment was added to the US constitution in 1865. The Amendment was an answer to the many people who questioned how the "land of the free and the brave" would allow human beings to be traded, and worked like livestock. African Americans directly challenged US law and the constitution by protesting against the inhumane way they were treated. The 13th Amendment finally abolished slavery bringing thousands of African Americans the goal they had fought for and granting them freedom.
African American Suffrage

"One person, one vote," was the hallmark of the United State. However, that was not always the case. African Americans were long excluded from voting and even being treated as human beings rather than properties. They fought hard through struggles to achieve the right to vote. Although, African Americans suffered and endured many hardships, African Americans ultimately succeeded in achieving the right to vote which was a drastic change and challenge given to the US constitution.
Homosexuals have challenged the US constitution and/or the Declaration of Independence by: Bilitis daughters
The Bilitis daughters was an organization that intended to endorse homosexuality in the American society. This organization was very successful in the way that it managed to make America confront the idea of homosexuality, and accept its reality. Although the American society is still faltering on the idea of homosexuality and its matter, homosexual marriages are more explicitly discussed and viewed in the American society today. The Bilitis daughters were very effective in challenging the US constitution. The first amendment claims the freedom of speech, and although homosexuals were not given that right, the Bilitis daughters and among others have broke through barriers to give the amendment its right meaning.
Don’t ask don’t tell
This policy played an extremely important role in American society by allowing homosexuals in the military on the condition that they would not openly express their sexuality. However, although homosexuals were recognized right to represent their nation, they felt insulted to not be accepted to confront their orientation. This policy "Don't ask don't tell" led to protests and extremely violated their right of freedom of speech. This policy was revoked due to their strong opposition.
However... Stonewall riots 1969
The Gay Rights Movement was the first major attempt of gays gathering to oppose discrimination. This event generated slogans, "Gay Power," and formed new pro-homosexuality organizations. It brought people throughout the nation together to meet and stand firm against discrimination based on sexuality, changing part of America's view on homosexuality. The homosexuals were fighting to have their civil rights recognized and achieve acceptance for their expression. This was extremely significant in challenging the US constitution by its first amendment of freedom of speech, and the Declaration of Independence. Homosexuality after many rights movements, organizations, and protests were free to speak out loud and confront themselves to the American society and were spoken about more freely in today's world.
Luther King
Luther King was one of the principal leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement and a prominent advocate of nonviolent protest. Luther King's challenges to segregation and racial discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s helped convince many white Americans to support the cause of civil rights in the United States. He was a symbol of protest in the struggle for racial justice. Martin Luther King gave a powerful speech about having a dream of the true meaning of the statement given in the declaration of independence. "All men and women are created equal." With his help, and many others, African Americans challenged the US constitution by endorsing their civil rights.
Dred Scott case.
The Dred Scott Case was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared that African Americans were not U.S. citizens, and that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that banned slavery in U.S. territories north and west of the state of Missouri was unconstitutional. Dred Scott was not willing to give up, but was criticized by many people. He fought to sue, but was criticized as property, and property was not allowed to sue. Dred Scott was not legal to sue and so his case was illegal and was rather ignored.
However... In 1865 the nation adopted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which ended slavery. In 1868 it adopted the 14th Amendment, which declared that all persons born in the United States are citizens of the nation and of the state in which they live. These two amendments effectively reversed the assertions that the U.S. Constitution protected slavery and that African Americans could never be citizens of the United States. Dred Scott case challenged the Declaration of Independence as Dred Scott was viewed as property and it was claimed in the Declaration of Independence that all men and women are created equal and that they had certain alienable rights. Dred Scott case clearly conveyed the statements contradiction, but overturned its contradiction into its actual 'close' reality. In conclusion, minority groups have effectively challenged the US constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Although there are many more minority groups who have struggled to succeed, the ones I have outlined are some of which were very significant and have affected the US constitution and/or the Declaration of Independence in one way or another. These minority groups have put a true meaning to the promises given by the Declaration of Independence and have succeeded to achieve amendments given in the US constitution. To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater. Bono
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