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Plessy v. Ferguson.

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Introduction

Plessy v. Ferguson The Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson arose due to the introduction of the so-called, "Jim Crow" laws, which required that the railway provide separate, but equal accommodations for whites and people of the "colored" races. This kind of law was first introduced in Florida in 1879, but was soon adopted in other southern states. This law was also introduced in Louisiana, where it was challenged by Homer Plessy. Plessy was only one-eighth black, but he was still considered "colored" and therefore was not allowed to sit in the "white's" car. He refused to sit in the "Colored Only" car and was arrested and then tried in the lower courts by Judge John Howard Ferguson, who found him guilty. Then, Plessy appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, but the Court agreed with Ferguson's decision. After that, the case was taken to the United States Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. ...read more.

Middle

According to him, laws promoting segregation should be made in good faith and for the good of the society. This brought up the question of whether the Separate Car Act is a reasonable exercise of power. The reasonability of regulations should, according to Brown, be justified by customs, traditions, promotion of security and comfort and the maintenance of public peace. According to the majority opinion, Louisiana's law concerning separate accommodations for people of color and white people is reasonable because it serves to maintain the standards described above. Moreover, the Court rejected the plaintiff's assumption that the segregation of races implies the inferiority of the people of color. In his opinion, Justice Brown, called this assumption a fallacy, saying that no mention of inferiority can be found in the Separate Car Act and that the idea of inferiority itself is only the invention of the colored race. He also expressed his belief that the notion of inferiority can only eradicate with time by social interaction between the races and that legislation cannot help this process. ...read more.

Conclusion

Justice Harlan also claimed that the government should not allow hate and racism to be planted in law and that is why he opposed Louisiana's Separate Car Law. He disagreed with the majority opinion, claiming that Louisiana's law implies the notion of inferiority of the "colored" people. In concluding his opinion, Justice Harlan stated that the Lousiana's statute contradicts the Constitutional guarantees of freedom and personal liberty and, therefore, Louisiana's statute is unconstitutional. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision turned out to be very important because it produced legal principle for future cases. This decision created a precedent that segregation was constitutional as long as it gave equal opportunities to whites and minorities. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision created a doctrine that is usually referred to as "separate but equal." Later, this doctrine was adapted to many other areas of public activities such as theaters, restaurants and even restrooms. This precedent was not overturned until Brown v. Board of Education, when the Supreme Court ruled that "separate is inherently not equal". ...read more.

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