| Dominique Bell
November 18, 2015
Hist 2020 Section L05- Dr. Paulauskas Final Paper
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence claimed, “all men are created equal”. America was not an equal society. Inequality was one of the main things that made the society hectic. Different genders and races were not on the same page when it came to being “equal”. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the U.S. went through many complications to be created equal. There were different grassroots movements formed to try to fight for equality, proving that the nation was not going by the Declaration of Independence. The statement “all men are created equal” could not be true due to women’s rights movement, labor union, and civil rights movements.
One grassroots movement that was formed to try to fight equality was the women’s rights movement. During the Progressive Era women made less than men. 25% of working women worked in offices as secretaries, house keepers, telephone operators and office typist 15% worked domestic service. As Conor Friedersdorf writes, “The early political fights about a minimum wage didn’t affect all laborers, as we might expect. Rather, like the first laws limiting hours worked, they were paternalistic in nature, and applied only to women and children.” (Friedersdorf, 5).
Women also didn’t have the right to vote. Women like Alice Paul and Jane Addams stepped up to fight against it. She was the leader of the suffrage movement and she organized events to protest against not being able to vote. Paul and her friends chained themselves to the White House gates and they were sent to jail. When she was sent to jail she went on a hunger strike. Jane Addams established Hull House to raise up women in times of need. Women with different circumstances went there; Women getting out of abusive relationships and trying to find good jobs. Alice Paul understood equality as having the same power as men.
The civil rights movements was also a grassroots movement used to fight equality. There were many people and things that led up to the civil rights movement. For example, there was Brown v. Board of Education, The Little Rock Nine, Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Woolworth’s sit-ins just to name a few. In 1954 the Brown v. Board of Education Marshall attacked separate but equal. He attacked the separate end of the separate but equal equation. Marshall said that even in a situation where black schools are funded in exactly the same way as white schools and the facilities are equal and with the same teachers the separate but equal equation is not equal. Because separate made one group of people unfit to associate with others.
Separate meant that one group of people isn’t good enough to be in the same institution as the others. Marshall was against segregation in schools. He helped influenced racial discrimination in schools which help give blacks equal rights. This was successful to a certain extent because today schools are still separate by choice of the people. The Supreme Court got the Little Rock Nine integrated into an all-white school by the name Central High School. As they arrived for their first day an angry mob awaited them as they entered the school. The government order the military to enter them inside the school. The Little Rock Nine understood equality as receiving the same education as white students. The obstacles they had to face was being harassed and escorted into the school.
Labor conditions caused a problem in America. Women were getting tired of not having good wages, hours, and safety. In 1909 women from different sewing shops walked off of the job to protest against labor conditions. Even though they made good effort they were all fired. The only company that didn’t participate in the union was shirtwaist because they were the only ones who agreed not to join the union. The owners kept the doors locked causing bad work conditions. Two months later a fire broke out. Since the doors were kept locked the women weren’t able to escape the building. Some of the women gave up and died in the building others jumped out of the window because there wasn’t a latter long enough.
After that point women began to protest against the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The protest helped New York pass a safety law. The Haymarket Affair was when workers went on strike because of work conditions. A lot of people gathered to go on strike police then arrived to try to stop the riot. The workers attacked police and the police retaliated. Both some police officers and workers died from all of the commotion. The protestors fought to get better working conditions. They justified equality as every worker making the same amount of money. Many of them lost their lives and most likely lost their jobs trying to fight for equality, and that’s what made this protest unsuccessful.
The statement “all men are created equal” could not be true due to the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movements, and labor union. I proved this because the women’s rights proved that women didn’t have the right to vote. Alice Paul and Jane Adams fought against women not having the right to vote. Women also didn’t make as much money as the men did they government had their own minimum wage for the women.
The civil rights movement proved that all men aren’t created equal because of a few historians that go by the names Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. They did everything to try to make sure that everyone in the world was all equal and had all of the same rights no matter what the color of your skin. Ms. Rosa Park refused giving up her seat on the bus to a white man because of Americans her skin. These people were bug role models to the world especially the people of colored skin. Civil rights leaders put their lives on the line and lost their lives trying to make sure that all men were created equal.
Labor unions was a grassroots movement that also proved that men weren’t created equal. Labor union was when both men and women were making sacrifices for their equality. We have The Triangle Shirtwaist Company and The Haymarket Act being a part of labor conditions. There were strikes going on to protest against these problems that were going on.
These three reasons where some of the grassroots movements that proved that all men weren’t created equal. African American people gave their all fighting for the equality. They dealt when getting beating, not having the right to work long ago, not making enough money, and lastly getting rested. Fighting for the rights everyday men and women stepping up taking control over the problems going on in the society.