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Internet Modern History Sourcebook

America as a World Leader: Internal Change 1945-1990

See Main Page for a guide to all contents of all sections.


America as World Leader: Internal Change

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US Domestic Politics: The State

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American Society: Immigration

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The 20th Century Expansion of Legal Rights

  • William O. Douglas (1898-1980): A Living Bill of Rights excerpts, 1961 [Was Civnet, now Internet Archive]
  • Balance of Power
  • Rights in Court
    • Gideon v. Wainwright 1963 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Extended 6th Amendment right to counsel to defendants in state court cases.
  • Racial Equality
    • Harlan Fiske Stone: Carolene Products Footnote 1938 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
    • Korematsu v. United States 1944 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The Court allowed the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.  Only three members dissented.
    • Harry S. Truman: Excutive Order 9981 1948  [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Established equal treatment of Blacks in the hitherto segregated armed forces.
    • Brown v. Board of Education 1954 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The finale of the NAACP's legislative campaign to overturn the "separate but equal" doctrine in education.
    • Cooper v. Aaron 1958 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Forced the South to put Brown into effect.
    • Civil Rights Act 1964 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
    • Reynolds v. Sims 1964  [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Required equitable dstribution of electoral districts.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson: The American Promise 1965 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Johnson's use of the "bully pulpit" on behalf of the Civil Rights movement.
    • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke 1978 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The Supreme Court wavered over "affirmative action", allowing for its later dismantling.
  • Free Speech
    • Abrams v. United States 1919 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The dissent by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes which is seen as the start of modern judicial approaches to free speech.
    • Whitney v. California 1927 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Justice Louis D. Brandeis's concurrence is counted as one of the greatest defences of free speech.
    • Near v. Minnesota 1931 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      Extended the First Amendment to cover state courts. It continued the process, begun only a few years earlier, of extending the protection of the Bill of Rights to cover the states as well as the federal government. Although the First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law ...," the Court in a series of rulings held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporates" the provisions of the Bill of Rights and makes them applicable to the states as well.
    • West Virginia Board of Education v.Barnette 1943 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      In  Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940), the Supreme Court sustained local school board requirements that all students salute the flag. Jehovah's Witnesses refused to compromise, and in this case the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision.
    • Engel v. Vitale 1962 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The Supreme court effectively bans school prayer in public schools..
    • New York Times Co. v. United States 1971 [At USInfo] [Internet Archive version here]
      The Supreme Court rules against "prior restraint" in publication.
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