Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the American Society and Politics

Impactof the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the American Society and Politics

Impactof the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the American Society and Politics

TheCivil Rights Act that was enacted in 1964 was the basis for thesubsequent changes in the American history. This legislation wasformulated with the objective of correcting the perceptions (such asthe white superiority) that affected the American society and thepolitical system in a negative way (Bowron, 2012). The effectivenessof the Civil Rights Act is confirmed by a significant decrease inlevels of discrimination in a different sector, including theworkplace, schools, and the political system. In essence, the Actsought to end the discrimination of the minority groups on the basisof social characteristics of individual members of thesedisadvantaged groups. In essence, the Civil Rights Act reformed theAmerican History with respect to the rights of disabled persons,gender equality, and enhanced racial equality.

Reductionof gender discrimination

TheCivil Rights Act provided an opportunity that feminist movements hadbeen fighting for many years. The act included gender in theprotected civil right category, which meant that genderdiscrimination issues could henceforth be addressed in the competentcourts of law. For example, the introduction of the Civil Rights Billin Congress provided Howard Smith with an opportunity to includeamendments to Title VII, which protected Americans social any sortsof social discrimination (Freeman, 2004). The act prohibitedemployers from discriminating their workers on the basis of theirgender differences in terms of payment. Since then, the number ofwomen occupying important job position and earning equal wages andsalaries as their female counterparts. This implies that the CivilRights Act paved way for gender equality and the implementation ofaffirmative actions that could bring women at par with men, thusenhancing gender equality in the American society.

CivilRights Act and racial equality

Priorto the formulation of the Civil Rights Act, the American society wasseverely affected by racial discrimination, which disfavored theAfrican Americans in most cases. Although the civil rights movementshad made attempts to reduce racial-based discrimination, it wasdifficult to challenge such incidents of discrimination in theabsence of legal instruments. The Civil Rights addressed thischallenge by redefining and prohibiting racial discrimination. TitleVII of the Act protected the minority races from being discriminatedagainst on the basis of their color or ethnic background. Studieshave shown that racial attitude has improved significantly since the1960s. For example, more than 54 % of the Americans agree that racialrelations have improved and 54 % of them believe that the BlackAmericans is more likely to get better than worse in the future (PewResearch Center, 2015). This suggests that the enactment of the CivilRights Act has contributed towards the peaceful coexistence ofdifferent racial groups that form the American society.

CivilRights Act and the rights of disabled Americans

Althoughthe Civil Rights Act enacted in 1964 did not contain some provisionsfor the disabled persons, it paved way for enactment of other laws tofill this gap. The success of the Civil rights in reducing thediscrimination of persons on the basis of their socialcharacteristics motivated legislators to protect other specialgroups. For example, Title VII was supplemented by the PregnancyDiscrimination Act in the year 1978 and the American Disability Actin 1990 (Bowron, 2012). The two supplementary legislations brought toan end the discrimination of persons on the basis of their physicalor mental statuses. These special groups can now have equalopportunities like other members of the American society. Althoughcases of discrimination are still being witnessed in the UnitedStates, the implementation of the Civil Rights Act and itssupplements has made a remarkable change in the American society.

Impactof the Civil Rights Act of the U.S. political system

Apartfrom social reforms, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act has madesignificant changes in the political system of the United States.Political influences of the act started during the formulation of theAct. For example, President Lyndon Johnson managed to convince theDemocrats and Republics to reason together and support the CivilRights Act for the benefit of the citizens (Minn, 2014). This createda political culture that encourages the government to collaboratewith the opposition to address critical issues, instead of theirpolitical differences. In addition, the Civil Rights Act created afair platform where individuals from different racial, cultural, andethnic backgrounds can participate in politics freely. This has beenconfirmed by the election of President Barack Obama as the firstpresident with an African American background (Minn, 2014). Thisimplies that the U.S. political system has become a fair platformwhere all people can exercise their democratic rights and assumedifferent roles in the government.


TheCivil Rights Act has facilitated reforms in the U.S. social andpolitical systems. Most importantly, the Act provided the legalground on which the oppressed groups could defend their rights in thejudicial system. This has contributed towards the elimination ofdiscrimination of persons on the basis of their gender, race, ordisabilities. The success of this act in reforming the U.S. societyhas been confirmed by trends showing that the rate of discriminationhas been reducing continuously. In addition, the Civil Rights Actcreated a fair political platform for all members of the Americansociety can exercise their democratic rights irrespective of theirsocial backgrounds.


Bowron,K. (2012). The Elliott-Larsen: Civil Rights Act. Michiganbar Journal,1, 19-21.

Freeman,J. (2004). How sex got into Title VII: Persistent opportunities as amaker of –public policy. AJournal of Theory and Practice,9 (2), 163-184.

Minn,W. (2014). How the civil rights Act of 1964 changed American history.HuffPost Multicultural.Retrieved January 31, 2015, from

PewResearch Center (2015). Blacks upbeat about black progress prospects.PewResearch Center.Retrieved January 31, 2015, from

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