In the US, activism is defined by with two time periods: the Revolutionary War period and the 60’s. In the build up to the Revolutionary War, colonists illustrated activism by protesting against the actions of their mother country. This was done using propaganda, boycotts and specific demonstrative events such as the Boston Tea Party. In comparison, in the 60’s there were a multitude of different protest movements including but not limited to, the protests against the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Protests which included protests against injustice based on race, gender and disability.
Activism in these two time periods are particularly notable because of their impact on the US. Following the Revolutionary War and the acts of activism that took place during the war, the Constitution was written with the First Amendment specifically being written to protest citizen’s right to protest and voice their displeasure with the government. This Amendment has been evoked multiple times in US history and is what allowed the activism in the 1960’s to take place. The activism that took place in this time period is particularly notable due to the role of media. As discussed in class, photographs and TV allowed others to see what the protests were like, including how they sometimes descended into violence. Furthermore, the activism in the 60’s were impactful because the methods used to protest set a precedent for today. People often protested by participating in sit ins and marches, gathering to support and listen to notable speakers. These shows of activism occurred across the country, allowing the activism in the time period to exist on a large scale. As illustrated by the current acts of activism, these large scale demonstrations occurring across the country still happens today.
Overall, the while the Revolutionary War period made activism legal and began to normalize it, it was the 60’s that finished normalizing activism and provided precedents for acts of activism. In this way, these two time periods defined activism in the US.