Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Governments grant civil rights to those considered citizens through birth or naturalization. When rights are not distributed evenly, conflicts arise. The first stage is often a struggle for citizenship and against laws that create and delimit access to citizenship and related rights and privileges. The 1790 Naturalization Law that established whiteness as a requirement for citizenship is a good example. Throughout U.S. history, women and minorities have been excluded from full participation in civil rights. They protested their exclusion, using the founders' articulations of equality and democracy as American ideals to draw support. Passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was the culmination of a long history of protest. This set into law both the requirement for protection against discrimination and the creation of agencies to oversee the expansion of civil rights. The federal government, generally responsible for protecting citizen rights, created the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as ...