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Civil rights events that have influenced a sense of social responsibility in the American government today

The 20th century (especially the last half) saw a rapid expansion of civil rights and liberties in the United States to address several issues primarily on the matter of race through massive protests. In January 1961 at the University of Mississippi, a black student named James Meredith had been denied admission because of his race. The applicant filed a lawsuit against the court. However, Meredith finally became the first black student at the University of Mississippi after a ruling by the Supreme Court in September 1962. Twenty days later, Civil Rights Division attorneys and federal marshals escorted Meredith to the school. 97 federal prison guards, federal marshals, and U.S Border Patrol officers were attacked within an hour by a mob of around 2000 people. Federal troops, totaling to 16,000 were deployed to end the violence which cost the lives of two people and left 160 people injured. 28 marshals had also been shot by then. Later on, the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination in public schools basing on their color, gender, race, national origin or religion. Affirmative action was initiated to promote equal rights and social equality and is being used until now and is supported by local and state leaders. The president at the time, Lyndon B Johnson also signed a civil rights bill that prohibited racial discrimination in public facilities, workplace, interstate commerce, and housing. According to the leadership conference in 1965, affirmative action would involve taking positive steps to curbing discrimination and prevent its recurrence while creating new opportunities that were previously denied to minorities (Garrison &Modigliani, 1994).

Second, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is considered to be the most successful fruit of civil rights legislation that was ever adopted by the Congress. The act states that no individual can be denied the right to vote on account of their color or race. The act made such great strides on the rights of voters and abolished literacy tests as well as poll taxes imposed as soon as the 15th Amendment of 1870 was ratified hence granting blacks the vote. President Johnson also signed this act that would ban certain requirements in southern states that used to disenfranchise African Americans. Today, both blacks and whites have a right to vote for their favorite candidate irrespective of the candidate’s race in all levels of leadership (from local to national).In fact, the outgoing president of the United States, Barrack Hussein Obama was the first African-American to be elected to that office.

 Media events that have positively or negatively influenced the public's opinion of a government agency

The media is known to affect the views about issue importance and government agencies among the general public as well as government policy makers. A 1981 study indicated that it was not the change in public opinion that led to policy changes but collaboration between government staff members and journalists (Tyler et al 1983). Television news serves to alert viewers of events and issues same as the radio. Print media also remains a significant source of news as it provides more contexts for analysis. Also, the country’s social, political and economic elites rely on detailed print coverage to inform and influence their views on pertinent public matters. The internet is also becoming a primary source of news. Blogs are also an important news aspect that allows individuals to comment on news and drive essential stories that missed the limelight. Some of these media events negatively affect the opinion on the public about government agencies. For instance, the media was at the forefront of publishing material in print and all over the internet including videos that the NASA moon landing was a hoax by the U.S government in a desperate race to defeat Russia in the space race. On the other hand, the media was able to positively influence the public opinion over the United States Navy after its successful mission to kill the al-Qaeda founder and terrorist Osama Bin Laden after publicizing the matter.

Differences between the Democratic and the Republican parties that may have an ethical impact on the American people

America’s political landscape is dominated by two major parties, the Republicans, and Democrats. The two parties were created after a robust two-party political system was established in the United States.  The Democratic Party began in1824 while the Republican Party (Grand old party) was launched in 1854. Although there are significant differences between republicans and democrats, it’s almost impossible to classify every individual based on political issues, but there are certain important points that all members of each party agree with. These critical points are generally found in each party’s platform. There are core differences between the two sides based on very strong political beliefs. Some of these differences may have an ethical impact on the American people as mentioned below.

The first difference between republicans and democrats is on their views towards social issues. The Democrats are progressive in their views and tend to favor gay marriage and abortion. They also support strict gun control laws that limit ownership. On the other hand, Republicans tend to be conservative on this issue. They advocate for marriage between man and woman and are opposed to gay marriage since they see it as unethical. They also promote the right to gun ownership and oppose abortion. Republicans seek to promote governance while upholding high moral standards and values for its citizens like it was in the past. They believe that marriage was ordained for man and woman and only this type of marriage is morally right. On the contrary, not all the public would agree with this since some are attracted to the same sex and would argue that they have a right to same-sex marriage. Democrats believe that in the contemporary world, things should be done different and such people ought to be given an opportunity to love and commit to each other.

Second, the two parties differ on the issue of crime and capital punishment. Republicans, in general, believe in harsher penalties for criminals including those selling illegal drugs. They also prefer capital punishment and favor systems with many layers to ensure proper punishment has been dispensed. While this might sound like a good policy to govern the public towards exercising ethical behavior and upholding high moral standards, the Democrats see it from a different perspective. Their views are more progressive since they believe that crimes that don’t involve violence like selling drugs ought to have lighter penalties and rehabilitation. They also strongly oppose capital punishment in any form.

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