Essay Sample: History of the Americas and the Civil Rights Movements

Published: 2022-05-20
Essay Sample: History of the Americas and the Civil Rights Movements
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Revolution Civil rights
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1321 words
12 min read

In the twentieth century, the History of the Americas has been shaped by a number of reform movements, revolts, and revolutions. The U.S. civil rights movements and the Cuban Revolution have contributed highly to the shaping of the American History. The civil right movement of the U.S. developed a multicultural view of the African Americans, Chicano Americans, and the Native Americans. The civil rights movement had a goal of securing the legal rights of these multicultural that other Americans already held. On the other hand, the Cuban revolution conducted by Fidel Castro was to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista so as to create a newly reformed communist that will enhance and transform the relationship between Cuba and the United States. Focusing on these two events, the essay will bring a clear contrast and comparison of their goals, achievements, and leadership. In addition, the essay will exploit their relationship to or rejection of the ideals of democracy, capitalism, and nationalism.

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The Civil rights movements that took place during the 1950s and 1960s were a struggle for social justice in gaining equal rights under the U.S. law. Even though the civil war had eliminated the slavery officially, it had not put to an end the discrimination of the Blacks especially in the sector of racism (Zinn & Damon, 1998). Along with other whites like the Native and Chicanos Americans, African Americans had gained more than enough of prejudice and violence hence they started to mobilize and fight for equality that went for two decades. Their overall goals were to achieve equal rights as lots of laws allowed discrimination against them. Also, they aimed at ending the 'de jure' segregation which was the institutional and legal segregation that had been passed after Reconstruction had failed in the era of post-Civil War (Chasten, 2001). For instance, the poll taxes and literacy tests that one needed to pass so as to be qualified for voting. Also, they needed to end the school segregation where they were to end some doctrines that never gave equal rights to Blacks to that of Whites while in the classroom like the capability of sitting where one wants.

On the other hand, the Cuban Revolution had a goal of overthrowing the authoritarian government that has been led by Fulgencio Batista who was the president of the Cuba (Rojas, 2015). Fidel Castro led this movement where they aimed at fighting for their freedom that they saw they were denied by the government o Batista. Some of the examples that the revolution of Castro wanted to overthrow was a corrupt government, bad housing, and poor education. They aimed at forming a new government that would build houses and homes for the homeless and demolish existing slums and builds modern houses. All in all, both the U.S. civil rights movements and the Cuban revolution had a common goal of gaining freedom from something they felt they were undergoing so as to gain an equal right like the other people.


One of the Crowning achievements that the movement of U.S. civil rights achieved was the formation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that abolished segregation in public places and prohibited discrimination in areas of employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin (Hall, 2005). Also, the first civil rights Act of 1957 was formed which established the Section of civil rights of the department of justice hence empowering prosecutors of federal to attain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. On the other hand, the Cuban Revolution achieved various achievements when under Fidel Castro. One of them was the literacy campaign of 1961 which led to the improvement of levels of education that led to many illiterate individuals becoming literate. It also led to redesign and expansion of the system of education which increased investment in people (Chomsky, 2015). There was an achievement in health sector reorganization where Cuba managed to reorganize its medical system thus providing universal access to healthcare services which enabled them to have standard results that were relative to the number of resources that it was able to offer to the sector of health. Other achievements were that the students of Cuba were able to attain best academic results and they became the first to eradicate child malnutrition.


In both Cuban Revolution and U.S. civil rights movement, there are various leaders that have contributed highly to changing the history of the American. Philip Randolph worked as a civil rights and social activist between the years 1889-1979 and this began when he became the labor organizer of Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) (Chong, 2014). Martin Luther King was a pastor protester, humanitarian and civil rights movement leader. He used Christian beliefs to push for social change. Roy Wilkins contributed highly as the executive director of the NAACP which played significantly in education and in voting rights. Other significant leaders in U.S. civil rights movement include James Farmer, who established the Congress of Racial Equality, Whitney Young, and Roy Wilkins. On the other hand, the leadership of the Cuban revolution has been based on Fidel Castro who was a Cuban communist and politician that served from 1953-1959 (Paterson, 1995). His aim was to overthrow the military junta of Fulgencio Batista by founding a paramilitary organization. Other leaders that assisted Fidel Castro's operation were Celia Sanchez and Haydee Santamaria.

Democracy, Capitalism, and Nationalism

The African American relationship among other Americans including the Chicano and the Native Americans to capitalism were enslaved which affected their family structures, local labor markets and the spread of prison labor. Even though for their own advantage they were able to turn the slavery to capitalism, they sharply undermined the mythology of free market that was prevalent in the thinking of the American (O'Brien, 1995). In the ideal of democracy, there was a relationship of the U.S. civil rights movement to democracy which involved fighting so as for the African-Americans and the rest to enjoy the same basic liberties like right to education and right to vote like the other White people. In nationalism, the movement of African American intended to emphasize on civil rights activism by independently focusing on Black Nationalism which was to challenge the racist American and redefine the Black and White relationship so as they can get liberated and be seen as equal people like the rest. On the other hand, the Cuban revolution led by Castro resisted restoration of capitalism. Even though the revolution took part in initiatives of education and the economy that seemed to favor the oppressed and the exploited, the revolution rejected capitalism which has left Cuba to a risky state of being turned to Puerto Rico (Zinn & Damon, 1998). In the fight for equality, the Cuban revolution gained democracy in areas of freedom, socialization of power, social diversity promotions and revolutionary ideology development. Due to this socialist revolution, democracy was institutionalized including those of elections. Nationalism to Cuban revolution has been a big part of the political culture of Cuba. Various factors contributed to its nationalism the Spanish Rule and the revolt against Spain which saw the country grew to various incidents of uprising slavery among Blacks.


Chasteen, J. C. (2001). Born in blood and fire: A concise history of Latin America. WW Norton & Company.

Chomsky, A. (2015). A history of the Cuban Revolution. John Wiley & Sons.

Chong, D. (2014). Collective action and the civil rights movement. University of Chicago Press.

Hall, J. D. (2005). The long civil rights movement and the political uses of the past. The Journal of American History, 91(4), 1233-1263.

O'Brien, T. F. (1999). The century of US capitalism in Latin America. UNM Press.

Paterson, T. G. (1995). Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Oxford University Press, USA.

Rojas, R. (2015). Fighting over Fidel: The New York Intellectuals and the Cuban Revolution. Princeton University Press.

Zinn, H., & Damon, M. (1998). A people's history of the United States. New Press.

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