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Plessy vs. Ferguson






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Plessy vs. Ferguson
After reading the landmark decisions of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) and Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S.
436 (1966), discuss the following in a paper of 7-9 pages:
What factors influenced each of these decisions?
o Read the dissenting opinions as well.
o Explore to what extent political ideology influences constitutional law.
o To support your points, identify specific examples in the language of both the decisions and the
Examine the political climate when both cases were decided.
o Look at what philosophical underpinnings may have influenced the thinking of the court of the
respective eras of these cases. How did the courts in each era read the U.S. Constitution differently?
In 4-6 paragraphs
Identify specic examples in the language of the text to support your position.
Examine some of the arguments used by the U.S. Supreme Court in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643
Include any philosophical underpinning that might have in&uenced the thinking of the majority
in the Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914).
Remember to keep the philosophical basis of the U.S. Constitution in the discussion.
Plessy Vs. Ferguson
The Civil War had finally come to and end bringing freedom along with it. However, The
United states simply couldn't adjust to the fact overnight because it was now illegal.
Principals and beliefs that ran skin deep in many southerners for over two hundred

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years would definitely not change, overnight. They were told all their lives, generation
after generation, that African Americans were never to be equal amongst Whites. How
would America Adjust? The whites strived to keep African Americans inferior, the law
created separate but equal, causing violence hate and terror. American life will forever
be changed.
The law declared freedom, south fought for slavery. No exceptions, however some
southerners still held slaves illegally. This led to government involvement, but they never
said they could not be discriminated.
African Americans were then treated anything but equal. They were discriminated and
violently tormented, looked down upon and spat at. Most of America chose nothing to
do with them. The African Americans were given completely separate facilities all the
way down to drinking fountains. Whites could not stand to think they would be equal one
day, they strived to keep them below their feet.
One night a African American felt that he should be given equal rights, he rode in the
first class section of a railcar. Later to be arrested. He then took he case to supreme
court, only to be turned away. The law then stated that African Americans could be
separated although equally privileged. Everything from schools to restaurants were
separated, even movie entrances. The whites did anything to separate themselves from
the African Americans.
The background of this case is interesting in the fact that it was a big case having to do
with the Jim Crow laws. In 1875, there was a law passed saying that there couldn’t be
any racial segregation . In Florida, there was yet another law passed saying that there
could be segregation on trains. On the website, it states, “The
conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each passenger

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to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated for the
race to which such passenger belongs. ” (Legal Segregation) This is a Jim Crow law.
The law is saying that the conductor of the train has to have a train car division for the
blacks and the whites. Plessy who was as stated above, only one-eighth African
American. He had light enough skin
that he could pass as white. The conductor of the train asked him what race he was and
when Plessy told him, he asked him to move. Plessy refused and got arrested. On it states, “Plessy vs. Ferguson is an extremely important case in the fact that
it gave legal standing to the idea of ‘separate but equal’” (Plessy v. Ferguson - Court
Case of Plessy v. Ferguson). So, basically this case made people realize that, legally,
segregation was, to most people, wrong, and unconstitutional.
This case had an extremely huge impact on society. It allowed segregation to
continue legally until 50 years later. In 1956, finally it was banned with the Brown vs.
Board of Education case when children believed that the schools were not equal. On, it states that when the Jim Crow laws were challenged, this was
argued, “...The state argued that Plessey and other Blacks did receive equal
treatment, just separate” (Legal segregation). The state thought it would be okay to
segregate if the blacks received equal treatment and facilities, they could be separated.
In an article by Nikki Brown, she states, “...In almost all public facilities--schools,
hospitals, trains, restaurants, hotels, parks, cemeteries, the armed forces, and jury
duty--whites received priority over African Americans.” (KnowLA Encyclopedia of
Louisiana) But obviously nothing was equal. Whites were always categorized as more
important than blacks.

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Just what I was looking for! Super helpful.