Modern US History

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In 1964, numerous demonstrations were held, and the considerable violence that erupted brought renewedattention to the issue of voting rights. The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi and the attack by state troopers on peaceful marchers in Selma, AL, gained national attention and persuaded President Johnson and Congress to initiate meaningful and effective national voting rights legislation. The combination of public revulsion to the violence and Johnson’s political skills stimulated Congress to pass the voting rights bill on August 5, 1965.

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The legislation, which President Johnson signed into law the next day, outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of Federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in those jurisdictions that were “covered” according to a formula provided in the statute. In addition, Section 5 of the act required covered jurisdictions to obtain “preclearance” from either the District Court for the District of Columbia or the U.S. Attorney General for any new voting practices and procedures. Section 2, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color. The use of poll taxes in national elections had been abolished by the 24th amendment (1964) to the Constitution; the Voting Rights Act directed the Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia’s poll tax to be unconstitutional under the14th amendment.

Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required. [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)]



The greatest changes in America have occurred as a result of dissent – the very conception of the United States was an act of protest.  As the American system has evolved, dissent has come to be widely recognized as imperative to a healthy democratic state.

Racism and discrimination


Parade of KKK members through Virginia Counties, in 1922

Parade of KKK members through Virginia Counties, in 1922

My primary source collection will be based around the racism and discrimination of African Americans, and immigrants in the United States. Throughout history, civilizations have feared people who belong to groups other than their own. The goal of my collection is to highlight the key moments of racism, along with smaller acts that are not widely known, but were widely felt.

The Effects of Immigration on Nativism in the US

At the start of the 20th century, a tremendous rise in immigration came with many problems that struck the United States, one of the biggest being nativism. With thousands of immigrants entering the country each day, nativists grew more and more concerned about the wellbeing of their country. In response, American nativists protested the expansion of the population through speeches, political cartoons, songs, and protests, along with many other forms of resistance, in an effort to try and stop the large influx of immigrants.

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The Evolution of Hate in America

Throughout American History,  groups of men, women, and children have been targeted because of their race, nationality, and perceived nature, so much so that groups have been founded and continued for decades with the sole purpose of hurting these groups of people.



This project aims to reveal not only the affects this hatred has had on our modern culture and how instances of past violence seem to repeat themselves over and over again, but also the changes in how modern hate groups try to present themselves.

The KKK: Who were they, and who are they now?

The KKK has long been a part of American culture, having been formed in the late 1800s, and still continuing, though with much fewer numbers, today. Over the course of its lifetime as a hate group, we’ve seen the organization have three distinct major movements, the first from 1865-1877, the second from 19 – 19, and the most recent one from 19 -present day.  The most recent movement is the one that will be examined the most in this section.

The Terrible Weapon that Won WWII

The use of the atomic bomb has been debated ever since its first use on August 8, 1945. There were people in Truman’s cabinet that insisted the U.S. only show the power of the atomic bomb and not use it as a weapon at first.Even General (later to be President) Eisenhower even had his reservations against the weapon. But President Truman refused, and two atomic bombs rocked Japan ultimately forcing them to surrender. President Truman had valid reasoning for this, in that if the U.S. were to invade Japan there was an expected 250,000 American deaths. That being said, many American officials believed that it was only a matter of time before Japan surrendered.Not only did these bombs kill hundreds of thousands of people, they also help set off the Cold War.


The Italian immigrant population started off like every other immigrant group.  They were seen as a source of cheap labor.  Because of this, many Italian immigrants lived in the poor neighborhoods and slums found in many major cities.  Italians would also be discriminated against with the use of red lining.  Through the years, the outlook and relationship the Italian immigrants have with the American public has taken many forms.  From being considered a lesser group, being feared, to becoming equals in society.  Overtime, the group that was once ridiculed wove themselves into the fabric of American society.


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