Influence Of The Federal Government

1633 Words7 Pages
Throughout the years 1877-1981, minority groups employed activism in a variety of guises in the struggle to achieve civil rights. While leading activists could draw on international events to strengthen their cause and enjoyed greater success as the campaign persisted, it ultimately fell to the government to make advances: activists needed a sympathetic president and government to legally push through change, thus the progression of civil rights was arguably dictated more by the current political situation than by the work of activists. The influence of the federal government is further seen by the fact that it both hindered and accomplished change throughout this period. Methods of activism varied between groups, and between time periods, but of the three main forms of activism employed in campaigns (litigation, violence and direct action) direct action was the most successful; minority groups - primarily African-Americans - tired of the slow and inconsistent success in the courts, and so brought direct action to the fore in the 1950s and 60s. Before this time, however, violent measures were prevalent: the Hispanic Las Gorras Blancas campaign was launched in conjunction with the ongoing Apache Wars (the Native Americans’ attempt to have their own recognised lands, which continued into the twentieth century) and although both achieved publicity, they were met unsympathetically by the government, which was justifiably forced to deal with the violence (or what could even be
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