Lesson 35: How Have Civil Rights Movements Resulted in Fundamental Political and Social Change in the United States?

Lesson Purpose

The Declaration of Independence is celebrated for its commitment to the principles of human liberty and equality. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal treatment under the law. This lesson focuses on political and social movements that have used and continue to use the Declaration and the Fourteenth Amendment to effect fundamental political and social change in the United States.

When you have finished this lesson, you should be able to explain why African Americans, women, and other groups found it necessary to take concerted action to ensure recognition of their civil rights. You should be able to describe some of the goals and tactics that civil rights movements have used. You should be able to describe and explain the importance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. You also should be able to identify some ongoing issues involving civil rights. Finally, you should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on landmark legislation involving civil rights and the role of civil disobedience in America's constitutional democracy.