• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of the federal government in assisting African Americans achieve their civil rights in the period 1865-1992?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of the federal government in assisting African Americans achieve their civil rights in the period 1865-1992? In terms of African American civil rights include social rights, being treated equal to a White American and integrating with them, and political rights, gaining the vote. The US system of the government has been created so there is a ?balance of power? between the branches, executive, legislative and judiciary. Therefore, it is difficult for only one branch to help blacks attain their civil rights. However, this essay will argue that the that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of the federal government in assisting African Americans achieve their civil rights in the period 1865-1992 The Supreme Court acted as the most help in assisting blacks to achieve their social rights. Although they strongly hindered the blacks with their ruling in the Plessy vs Ferguson case in 1896, they ?redeemed themselves? in the Linder Brown case 1954. Also during the first half of the period, the policies of the leaders including Booker T Washington and Marcus Garvey appear to support the doctrine ?separate but equal?. ...read more.

Middle

Congress overturned him but his veto legitimised the South?s stance against black civil rights. Another example is the conflict between President Roosevelt and Congress in the 1930s. Congress made Roosevelt limited to help advance the blacks? social rights because he needed to gain the South?s support in order for the New Deal to pass. Furthermore the two branches have to cooperate with each other, in order for effective legislation to be passed. To illustrate, President Lyndon Johnson used his Southern background to convince Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act 1964 which outlawed racial, sexist and religious discrimination. These examples demonstrates an advantage of the Supreme Court which is that the judges serve for life meaning they would not base their decisions on public opinion unlike the president who would do this to gain votes. Therefore, the white southerners will have less influence on the Supreme Court unlike the president and Congress. This may explain why they provided a ruling which was favourable to the African Americans, in the Buchanan vs Warley where racism was still clearly present. The Supreme Court does not have to rely on the other branches? support to help the blacks attain social rights. ...read more.

Conclusion

To demonstrate, in the 1938 Guinn vs Canada case, the Supreme Court ruled that ?separate but equal? must really be equal. Furthermore, in the Guinn vs US case, the grandfather clause was ruled as unconstitutional. The grandfather clause was where people were only granted the vote if their fathers or grandfathers had voted before the 15th Amendment. These examples further demonstrate that the Supreme Court have displayed their support towards African Americans? political rights, unlike the other two branches who have a long period of inactivity. In conclusion, although Congress and the president acted as a significant help to the African Americans during the 1950s and 1960s, both branches were too inactive for long period of time to be classed as the most important. Congress was heavily dominated by the Southern Democrats which constrained the president from assisting the blacks due to fears of losing support. In contrast, the Supreme Court was less influenced by the other two branches, meaning they were able provide favourable verdicts towards the blacks from as early as 1900. The conflicts between the other branches prevented them from passing significant legislation during the first half of the period. Hence that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of the federal government in assisting African Americans achieve their civil rights in the period 1865-1992. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent did the US president hinder rather than help the development of ...

    3 star(s)

    Another example of a president hindering the development of civil rights is Hayes as the Jim Crow laws were developed during his presidency. These laws segregated the black community, hindering the development of their civil rights. These laws very influential as they as reflected the social attitude at that time

  2. Peer reviewed

    To what extent were Malcolm X and the subsequent Black Power Movement the 'Evil ...

    4 star(s)

    Race Relations in the USA 1863-1980 p.159 - Sanders, 2006 46 The 'long hot summer' race riots were race riots that took place in nearly every major city in the USA outside of the South between 1964 and 1968. The first major riot was in Watts, Los Angeles in 1965.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of federal ...

    4 star(s)

    This case was also one of the first examples of federal government choosing to recognise "States' Rights" - a view that would allow many of the southern states to continue to discriminate against their African American citizens for many decades to come.

  2. Peer reviewed

    How effective was the early civil rights movement in advancing Black Civil Rights in ...

    3 star(s)

    The amendment stated; " Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude.

  1. Comparison of Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson

    However, Eisenhower's was greater than the first of the three's, Truman's. Both Eisenhower and Truman were similar in the sense that they both took major action towards civil rights during their election years. Truman made two executive orders, which called for rights mainly for African Americans, and Eisenhower passed a major bill.

  2. How important was the strength of opposition to impact the New Deal in the ...

    Roosevelt would have been aware of this, it is thought of the Left "advocating simple solutions"24 however their "solutions did not bring the results"25, it was possible for Long to Capitalize support from Coughlin and Townsend, crushing Roosevelt and the New Deal the picture source26 strengthens Badgers assertion that the

  1. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    Established penalties for obstructing black voting 3. 57 & 60 Acts acknowledged federal responsibilities for civil rights & encouraged activists to work for more legislation. However, 1. Did little to help blacks vote (eg Only 3% of black voters added to electoral rolls during 1960)

  2. How did the southern states deny equality to African Americans even after Emancipation

    Share-cropping enabled the Southern States to deny economic equality to African Americans. In addition to this violence was played a substantial role in the denial of equality to African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan were a vigilante group that was formed by the ex confederate generals who aimed to continue the civil war via other means.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work