Affirmative Action Thesis: Although many people believe that affirmative Action is a form of racism, it is actually used to help minorities find employment in an otherwise racist world. "In the United States, equality is a recurring theme. It has flared into a fervent moral issue at crucial stages of American history: The revolutionary and Jacksonian Period, and the New Deal. In each era, the legitimacy of American society is challenged by some set of people unhappy with the degree of equality" (Verba and Orren). Following the Civil War, Congress passed a number of laws designed to put former slaves on an equal level with white people. The Fourteenth Amendment made the freedmen citizen and prohibited states from enforcing any law which took away the privliges of any citizen, depriving men of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law, or denied men equal protection of the laws. In 1875, Republican majority in Congress, aware that reconstruction would soon end, passed a civil right act to secure by law semblance of equality for Black Americans (Urofsky 19). Many white Americans really did not like the idea of equality for the Black Freedmen. "Gideon Welles, who had been prevailing sentiment when he wrote in 1871: Thank God slavery is abolished, but the Negro is not, and never can be the equal of the white man. He is of an inferior race and must always remain so'"(Urofsky 23). The supreme court agreed and in 1883 passed the Civil Rights act which diluted much of th! e protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Joseph Bradely interpreted the enforcement provision of the amendment as strictly remedial; "congress has the power to remedy a discriminatory state law, but could not take affirmative steps to protect blacks from other forms of prejudice" (Urofsky 21). As a result of this decision, the federal government took no action to combat racism in the country until the second world war (Urofsky 22). Because resentment continued to increase within the black communities and because of the threat of a march on Washington, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order on June 25, 1941. This order directed African Americans to be accepted into job-training programs in defense plants. The order also stated that discrimination would not be excepted by employers holding defense contracts. It also set up a fair employment practice commissions to investigate charges of racial discrimination. Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower continued to enforce fair employment legislation after Roosevelt's policies because Congress was unwilling to do so. In 1954, the supreme court decision Brown v. Board of Education pressured both houses of Congress and the executive office to take some positive steps on behalf of civil rights. In January 1961, John F. Kennedy took office. Almost immediately Roy Wilkins of the NAACP called for action to promote employment opportunities for African Americans. John F. Kennedy responded with executive order 10925, which created a presidential commission on equal employment opportunity; it also mandated federal contractors to take "Affirmative Action" to ensure that there would be no discrimination by "race, creed, color or nationality." This was not the first time that the government ordered it own contractors not only to avoid discrimination, but to take positive steps to redress the effects of discrimination in society. In some cases contractors were asked to pay employees doing similar work, the same amount of pay. Without congressional action an executive order could only last so long, and in 1963 Kennedy secured passage of the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act prohibited employers from paying women less than men for the same work. "A short time later due to the assassination of kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson called for the passage of the Civil Rights Bill as a memorial to the late president kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson skillfully guided and expanded...
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