Why does discrimination against groups exist in the United States? Do you believe our tendency to discriminate
against “others” is an inevitable part of human nature or a by-product of our culture and politics? How can government best ensure equal rights for all?
What are the limits of law and policy in creating conditions for equality when confronted with contrary public
attitudes? The ratification of the Civil War amendments and the passage the Civil Rights Acts of 1865–1877 were ineffective in expanding political, social, and economic rights for former slaves. Why? How were conditions different in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed?
Should the federal government take the lead in promoting civil rights or are the states most likely to promote
and protect expanded rights? Is the legislative branch or the judiciary the appropriate place for rights to be articulated and promoted? In thinking about your response, draw on historical examples from the chapter to support your
During the push for final passage of the women’s suffrage amendment and as the civil rights movement for African
Americans was escalating in the 1960s, each movement was divided over strategy: militant action or patient politics. Compare and contrast the tactics and strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr., with those of Malcolm X as well as those
of the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) with those of Alice Paul. In your view, which approach is more effective? Is there support for the position that both strategies are required to produce change in our political
In the movement for women’s suffrage as well as for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the primary opponents
to greater equality for women were other women. In each case, why did some women oppose expanding rights for women? What were their primary objections?
Should affirmative action programs continue and, if so, for how long? What should the benchmark for success be with regard to civil rights for minority groups? Who should determine if the playing field has been made level? If you do not favor affirmative action, how should society address the economic gap between men and women and whites and African Americans?
Why does discrimination against gays and lesbians continue today? In what ways is this form of discrimination similar and different to that practiced against African Americans, Latinos, women, and other groups in society?