What are Social Movements in the United States?

Social movements are not just a movement that only has some goals, but it is also an effective way to transform the existing society into a more efficient society. In which through these movements the people mould society into what they desire. The people in a society are the individuals who live there, so it is essential to change the society into a more desirable one. Through social movements, the people achieve their goal by eradicating evil practices, discrimination, exclusion, differentiation among people.  Social movements involve effective leadership, motive, resources to achieve those motives or goals, and a good organization. Throughout history, we saw different kind of movements. It can be environmental movements to achieve environmental sustainability; political movements to achieve effective policy-making; women’s movements to achieve equal opportunity and equality; backward class movements to achieve social inclusion and to eliminate social exclusion; tribal movements to achieve an equal citizen in their home country.

Social Movements in USA

From above we can understand that social movements have different motives. And based on that different scholars differentiate the social movements into different types. And mainly there are two types;

  • To change some aspects or definite dimensions of society there are Activist movements. We can say movements to get equal opportunity for voting as an activist movement.
  • Some movements fight against any change in society. Their goal is to resist any change. Those movements are Regressive or Reactionary movements. In India, the people made movements against the Uniform Civil Code. Many people oppose that. We can say these kinds of movements as Reactionary movements.

The United State of America witnessed many social movements from the early century onwards.

The following are the major social movements in the USA.

  1. American civil rights movement

All are supposed and believed that by the end of the American Civil War the slavery will have vanished from America. But it is only a dream for African Americans.

It is not favourable for African Americans. They work hard to get equal and uniform rights in America. As we all know they were considered second class citizens in America. They faced lots of suffering and pain in their own home country. Besides, all-male who are eligible to cast a vote have the right to vote in 1870. But the African American was not able to do that and was discouraged by violence and eventually legal stipulations. In a case called Plessy V. Ferguson, the supreme court of America ruled to continue the racial differentiation in various sectors. Also, many other Southern States impose Separate but Equal notions for many aspects of life.

And all these lead to treating blacks as second-class citizens. All this continued into the 1900s. After those bad treatments, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) was established in 1909. This is a major turning point in the lives of African Americans. Their main aim is to promote equality in society and consider them as equal citizens. After so many sufferings and fights the first common school or integrated school was opened in 1955. The civil rights movement was also witnessed so many accompanied movements. The Southern movement was continued with the support of John F. Kennedy and his brother. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, his proposed bill that is the Civil Rights Bill has approved in 1964by the support of President Lyndon Johnson. This bill was a turning point for African Americans as it destroyed all the rules and existing laws regarding the discrimination of people based on race. And it is also influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. After that many people come in front to support the civil rights movement. The equal Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965. This destroyed all the discriminatory practices that exist in voting. The African Americans began to cast their vote. But above all these successes some people make violent riots against this. As Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X was also a lead human rights activist. Also, the Black Panther Party was run under the principle set by Malcolm X. But he was assassinated in 1965. After that Martin Luther King Jr was killed in 1968. Robert Kennedy was also killed in 1968. Barack Obama was elected as President of the USA in 2008 was another milestone of the Civil Rights Movement.

2. Abolitionism

The Abolitionist Movement in America was a byproduct of the Abolitionist Movement in Europe.

Between 1777 and 1804 Northern states passed abolition laws. The human trafficking of slaves was banned in 1807 by Congress. These efforts did not affect the slave trade within the U.S. the Southerners rejected abolition because they see slavery to reap profit from cotton production. The ultimate goal and motive of abolitionists were to end slavery. Sending petitions to congress, organizing boycotts and circulating media that condemned slavery.  William Lloyd Garrison a journalist and Frederick Douglass were the two prominent abolitionists. The abolitionists faced two major challenges one is abolition is destabilized the already fragile balance between the North and South; second many people considered slavery as a matter of states’ rights and viewed federal involvement as unconstitutional. We can say that the increasing demand of Northerners to keep slavery out of western territories was the reason for the growth of the abolition movement.

3. Women’s movement

We can say that this movement was a byproduct of the Abolitionist movement in America.

It is not immediately successful because the public focus on the anti-slavery campaign. Many early supporters of women’s rights also advocated for abolition for example Lucretia Mott played a crucial role in the anti-slavery movement. The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society’ was established by Lucretia Mott. This society fought for both women rights and African Americans. The other pathetic experience for women as they faced discrimination and differentiation within the abolitionist movement. Liberty Party and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society forbade women’s outright. The Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 is because of the discrimination they experienced. It is also known as the First Women’s Rights Convention. It drafted a declaration of Sentiments modelled after the Declaration of Independence and listed their demand for equality, right to vote. Women movement comes to the forefront in the latter half of the 19th century.

4. Club Movement

Club movement is an American Women’s social development established during the nineteenth century to give ladies an autonomous road to schooling and dynamic local area administration.

Before the mid-1800s most women’s relationship, for certain outstanding exemptions, was either helper of men’s gatherings or church-supported guide social orders. Unquestionably, ladies assumed dynamic and vital parts in these gatherings, yet the heading and organization of such associations were generally constrained by men.

Two prototypical ladies’ clubs were established in 1868, Sorosis and the New Britain Ladies’ Club. Columnist Jane Cunningham Croly, an originator of Sorosis, and Julia Ward Howe addressing the New Britain Ladies’ Club ventured to every part of the nation advancing the worth of clubs managed and constrained by ladies. They imagined ladies’ clubs as a method for ladies to turn out to be better taught yet additionally expected that the clubs would assume a critical part in bettering society through willful local area administration.

Also Read: Developmental Studies

5. Tea Party Movement

The Tea Party Movement is thousands of local groups spread all over the United States they take pride in not having a national leader and not allowing national leadership to take over their movement and direct it. There are Two Tea Party conventions, two massive Tea Party rallies, and cities across the country. Certain core beliefs emerge. This movement opposes excessive taxation and the intervention of government in the private sector.

6. Hippie Movement

The nonconformist subculture started its improvement as a young development in the US during the mid-1960s and afterward created throughout the planet.

Its beginnings might be followed by European social developments in the nineteenth and mid-twentieth century like Bohemians, the impact of Eastern religion, and otherworldliness. It is straightforwardly impacted and enlivened by the Beat Age, and American inclusion in the Vietnam War. From around 1967, its essential ethos incorporating amicability with nature, public living, imaginative experimentation especially in music, and the far-reaching utilization of sporting medications spread throughout the planet during the nonconformity of the 1960s, which has become firmly connected with the subculture.

7. Chicano Movement

This movement was also widely known as ‘El Movimiento’. It was both considered a social and a political movement in America. Earlier it was considered as demonstrations of opposition among individuals of Mexican plunge, particularly of Pachucos during the 1940s and 1950s, and the Dark Force movement, that attempted to accept a Chicano as a personality and perspective that fought underlying bigotry, energized social rejuvenation, and accomplished local area strengthening by dismissing assimilation. Before this, Chicano had been a term of scorn, taken on by certain Pachucos as a statement of rebellion to Old English American society. With the ascent of Chicanismo, Chicano turned into a recovered term during the 1960s and 1970s, used to communicate political independence, ethnic and social fortitude, and pride in being of Native plummet, separating from the assimilationist Mexican-American identity.

The Chicano Development was affected by and weaved with the Dark Force development, and the two developments held comparative destinations of local area strengthening and freedom while additionally calling for Dark Brown unity. Pioneers, for example, César Chávez, Reies Tijerina, and Rodolfo Gonzales learned methodologies of obstruction and worked with heads of the Dark Force development. Chicano associations like the Earthy coloured Berets and Mexican American Youth Association (MAYO) were affected by the political plan of Dark extremist associations like the Dark Jaguars. Chicano political exhibitions, for example, the East L.A. Walkouts and the Chicano Ban, happened as a team with Dark understudies and activists.

Like the Dark Force development, the Chicano Development experienced weighty state reconnaissance, invasion, and suppression from U.S. government sources and agitators through coordinated exercises like COINTELPRO. Development pioneers like Rosalio Muñoz were removed from their places of authority by government specialists, associations, for example, MAYO and the Earthy coloured Berets were penetrated, and political exhibits, for example, the Chicano Ban became destinations of police ruthlessness, which prompted the decrease of the development by the mid-1970s.

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Hi, I’m Ashitha Mary K.L. I have post-graduated from Mahatma Gandhi University in 2021. I have completed my graduation and post-graduation in Sociology from St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala. I’m a content writer since 2019. Interested in writing and reading. I have also had a certificate in Healing with the Arts course from the University of Florida. Interested in writing related to society. Currently working as a content writer in Sociology Group.