Balancing Majority and Minority Rights in America

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The United States of America has debated the topic of whether the rights of the majority should outweigh the rights of the minority from the time before the nation was formed. The idea of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness was placed in the Declaration of Independence because these ideals were what the colonies based their decision to part from Great Britain on. This idealism carried on into the creation of the Constitution and many of the laws that followed. This is evident throughout the United States’ history with specific events such as the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, Brown v. Board of Education decision, and the Japanese-American Relocation during World War II. In more current events, the Patriot Act must be considered. …show more content…

In this landmark Supreme Court decision the Court declared separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional therefore overturning Plessy v. Ferguson. The white south enjoyed their victory with Plessy v. Ferguson for over fifty years before the Supreme Court was able to begin righting their mistake. The long term effect of Plessy v. Ferguson was evident in the fact that blacks did not make much progress towards becoming more educated, informed, and productive citizens since the Thirteenth amendment was adopted. There were gains but overall the gap in prosperity especially in the south between blacks and whites continued to widen. The disparity in the distributions of funding between the two races were extremely evident in education. The advantages that whites gained during this time period placed them in a position to hold financial and educational advantages over blacks that even linger today. The lack of equal education doomed generations of blacks to mediocrity while their white counterparts were able to make huge gains for themselves and their children. This is one of the mains debates about affirmative action. Due to the unfair advantages given to whites, especially during the New Deal and Fair Deal policies of the 1930s and 1940s, the black population’s prosperity fell well behind the nation’s white majority (Katznelson). Brown v. Board of Education was the first step to trying to rectify this situation. This example of how protecting the rights and liberties of a minority can positively affect the majority. For the nation as a whole, having citizens that are productive, prosperous, educated and content will (in the long run) provide a more united prosperous

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