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Quiz #6-Essay Model

Quiz #6-Essay Model

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Published by Joel Troge

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Published by: Joel Troge on Feb 16, 2012
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 Participation in Government 
 Name:_____________________________Class:____Date:______________ 
Quiz #6 – Essay Model
The United States government is set up with threebranches: executive, legislative and judicial. It is up to the judicial branch to interpret the laws and the Constitution.Over the course of America’s history as a fully establishednation, the Court has made some monumental decisions thathave shaped the course of our country. Two examples of important cases are Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v.Board of Education of Topeka (1954).At the time of the Plessy v. Ferguson case, the Civil Warhad ended and the United States was making a transitioninto the twentieth century. In the South, Jim Crow laws hadbeen enacted and enforced to keep blacks subordinate evenafter they had won their rights from the Civil WarAmendments (13, 14 and 15). These laws limited theirhuman rights and kept them as second-class citizens. InLouisiana, the railroads were segregated. Homer Plessy wasa black man who wanted to challenge the law that made himsit in a separate car from whites. He was arrested and hiscase eventually went to the Supreme Court. The questionwas whether segregated railway cars violated the equalprotection clause of the 14
th
Amendment. The SupremeCourt’s decision in the case affirmed the “separate butequal” policy in public facilities where there was a differentrailway car for blacks and for whites. In the Court’s nearlyunanimous decision, under the 14
th
Amendment, it wasconstitutional as long as both were equal in quality. Thereality of this decision was that the facilities were rarelyequal, and the separation itself was eventually degrading tothe black American population. The impact of the decisionwas a perpetuation of racism and prejudice in America topeople of color.After World War II, America had a strong movement forcivil rights, women’s rights, human rights and political rights.In the 1950s, there was an uproar building related to civilrights for African-Americans, especially over segregation.One segregated institution was schools, where African-
Curriculum created by Joel Troge – The International High School at Lafayette – 2012
1
 
 Participation in Government 
 Name:_____________________________Class:____Date:______________ 
American children attended separate and clearly unequalschools. The NAACP and their attorney, Thurgood Marshall,decided to take action against this racial discrimination. InBrown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), a black girlwanted to go to a school closer to her home than her schoolat the time, but the closer school was all white. She had tofight for her right to an education. This case would becomeone of the most important decisions made by the WarrenCourt. They decided that the decision made in Plessy v.Ferguson was wrong and “separate but equal” wasunconstitutional because the African-American schools werenever equal and the children were harmed and made to feelinferior by being separated. They overturned the Plessydecision, declaring separation in public educationunconstitutional under the 14
th
Amendment, and orderedthat public schools be integrated “with all deliberate speed.” The decision was the first of many monumental events of thecivil rights era that eventually ended segregation in publicfacilities and changed America’s attitudes and respect forpeople of different races.Two Supreme Court cases with opposing rulings, Plessyv. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,made big impacts on America’s historical story. Bothchanged the race relations of their times against or in favorof black Americans. After the Civil War and in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, the two decisions will beremembered long after they happened.
Why is this a
 great 
essay?
1) It develops all aspects of the task by discussing
 Plessy v. Ferguson
and
 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
2) It is both descriptive and analytical…for example, it doesn’t just statewhat the 14
th
Amendment says, but it goes further to say that the decision in
 Plessy v. Ferguson
that the “separate but equal” policy was constitutionalunder the 14
th
Amendment allowed for the “perpetuation of racism and prejudice in America toward people of color.” That’s good analysis!
Curriculum created by Joel Troge – The International High School at Lafayette – 2012
2

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