Affirmative Action

The problem of discrimination has been around since the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.The U.S. Constitution said nothing of equality; instead, it “legitimized the institution of slavery.”The Emancipation Proclamation issued January 1, 1863, set slaves in the confederate states free.The Thirteenth Amendment permanently abolished slavery.The former confederate states, not wanting to let go of their control over blacks, established the restrictive “Black Codes.”The Civil Rights Act of 1866 proposed by Andrew Johnson was thefirst Civil Rights act ever written.The act was turned down by congress. The act would have given all blacks the same rights as whites.The issue of discrimination has been addressed in the court system many times.Beginning with the Dred Scott v. Sanford (1) case, in which the Supreme Court ruled, that blacks as“subordinate and inferior beings,” could not constitutionally be citizens of the United States.More recently, the Bakke case gave a look at the workings of affirmative action.A white student was denied admission to U.C. Davis because the school had already met its quotas for white students.“Affirmative action”(2) is a term coined by President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.In an executive order Johnson declared that federal contractors should take “affirmative action,” this was to guarantee that “applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”Executive Order #11246 would increase the number of minorities employed by federal contractors.This order would become a major policy issue for years after it was made.Many people view affirmative action as reverse discrimination, or as reparations made by the government to minorities for past discrimination.It has been left up t

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