Social Movement Change our Government

“ Where there is a significant social movement of self- reliant communities, there can be political change. There must be political change.” A social movement is made up of a variety of people gathered and coordinated to achieve a specific mission or goal, most of whom are involved in bringing about social change. Social movements have been a constant part of the development of history especially in the United States. This is done through humanitarian actions of financial support, charitable action, and individual engagement that have served as the basis for U.

S. movements from abolishing women’s rights to civil rights. So how do social movements affect change in the government? Movements have helped shape our government by bringing attention to certain issues, provided certain political support and even, can convince authorities to re-examine and possibly change policies.

Social movements have a very important role to play in bringing to light some of the social problems facing our world. These issues and conditions may exist for years or even centuries before they are recognized as a social problem.

Slavery, the subjection of women, racial discrimination, poverty, and inequality are just a few that come to mind. There is one thing that connects all of these topics and that is they were all regarded as natural or inevitable until the social movement drew attention to it. The degree of success of a social movement determines not only how it approaches the social problem but also what happens to the movement itself.

“ American civil rights activists, for example, were able to mobilize most broadly when they saw signals that substantial change was possible.

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Rosa Parks knew about Jackie Robinson and Brown v. Board of Education—as well as Gandhian civil disobedience—before deciding not to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Government responsiveness to earlier activism—such as President Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces and calling for an anti-lynching law—though limited, fitful, and often strategic, for a time encouraged others in their efforts. And the success of AfricanAmerican activists encouraged other ethnic groups, as well as women, to pursue social change through movement politics.”

These are just a few examples that have brought attentions to social issues creating movements and helping to shape our goverment.

Next, we have the political support that these groups / organisations can bring. A movement will begin to gather around a leader or person who aims to relieve the people’s sufferings. This leader may be a charming leader with some extraordinary qualities that are capable of leading the movement. They may speak of reform, revolution, resistance, or express themselves in such a way as to make the followers feel that they are going to do something or find a solution to their problems. If the leader’s message is appealing people will surely rally behind him. This can go one of two ways either the people get someone into power that can actually make a difference or a polotition uses the movement in order to make sucess for themselves. Either way they both help change who sits in a chair of “Power” in the political world and in all the different aspects of goverment.

“ For example, President Kennedy responded to the nuclear freeze movement by establishing the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, which became a permanent voice and venue in the federal bureaucracy for arms control.”

Looking at the federal office, there are different agencies, committees, and commissions that roots can be traced back to social movements. Some of these institutions include the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Labor Relations Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Council on Disability, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Not only can social movements help decided who gets postions within the goverment but they can convince authorities to re-examine and possibly change policies. When it comes to the capital

“Legislative policymaking refers to the process by which elected officials (e.g., members of Congress, state legislators, school board officials, etc.) introduce and pass legislation that becomes law.” and for all other levels of goverment “…administrative or regulatory advocacy happens at the state and local levels, too. Often, rulemaking at these levels of government leads to the creation of entirely new state programs.”

This is where the person the group avocated for comes into play. Advocates educated members of the Congress or councile during the legislative process from the introduction of a bill/policy all the way through the passage. Showing how thw bill can be improved to meet the goals of the issue at hand.

A couple examples of social movemnts that have actually made a difference in our goverment is the Women’s Suffrage Movement that lead to womans right to vote. it only seems fitting to start with this one because we just celebrated its 100th year. One of the most known face for this movement was Susan B. Anthony. She joined the American women’s suffrage movement in 1852, and traveled throughout the United States avocating in spite of all the hostility and abuse. She also campaigned for the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and women’s labor organizations. She was commemorated on the U.S. dollar coin for all she accomplished. Anthony’s efforts with the rest of the organization resulted in women getting the right to vote on August 18, 1920. The next movement we have is the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps the most famous civil rights activist in the U.S. is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. He was the one who led a nonviolent movement for change in the 1950s and early 1960s. He advocated for protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience in place of violent activism. He is best known for his “I Have A Dream” speech, which took place at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. In 1964, at age 35, Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize (at the time). These are just two social movements and there advocates that have changed not only our goverment but the world we live in.

Movements have helped shape our government by bringing attention to certain issues, provided certain political support and even, can convince authorities to re-examine and possibly change policies. These are just a few reasons that these groups can change the social norm we have accepted. They choose to speek up and shine light on the issues other choose to turn a blind eye to or even arent aware of.

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago a great American in whose symholic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous cleeree is a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been searrd in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But 100 years later the negro is still badly crippled by the manacles of segergation and the chains of discriminatio. One hnndred years later the Negro lives on a lonely iand of poverty in the midst of a vastt ooean of material prospcrity. One hundred years later the Negro is still laruguihed in the comers o.f American society and find himself in exile in his own land. So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

The i have a dream speech is still one of the most powerful speaches givin on capital hill and can be used for future movemts to learn from. Especially with all the movement that have been happening in today society. “Free at last, Great God a-mighty, ‘We are free at last.’

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Social Movement Change our Government. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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