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A History of Change and Social Movements in the U.S.


The coursework in a Bachelor of Science in sociology degree program covers a multitude of topics and social issues. One such topic is social movements in the U.S. The United States has a long history of social movements, from the Taxation Movement, which essentially led us to the American Revolution, to the more recent Gay Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter Movement.

Understanding how these movements began, how they were carried out and how they affected or brought change to the United States is an important topic of study in sociology; it highlights not only how society evolves, but also how it determines or handles nonconformist behavior. You can study this fascinating subject by obtaining a sociology degree online.

How Social Movements in the U.S. Have Brought About Change in the Past

A number of social movements have had success in affecting social change in the U.S. The Abolitionist Movement began in the 1830s as individuals all over the nation began pushing for the end to slavery. That movement saw success in 1865 with the passing of the 13th amendment. The Women’s Rights Movement, though still ongoing, has had a lot of success. In 1920, the movement won the fight for women’s right to vote. Labor Movement activists of the 1930s achieved their goals through the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which provided a minimum wage and the 40-hour workweek. In the 1960s and ’70s, the Civil Rights movement scored major successes, playing a big part in the passing of the Civil Rights Act and in affirmative action legislation.

In 2015, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) passed as law to protect individuals with disabilities against discrimination in education. Recent global protests and increased government attention on environmental justice has meant a boost in renewable energy reliance and technology.

While many social justice movements are still ongoing, many public movements in the U.S. have also proved fruitful in their pursuit of social change.

How Social Movements in the U.S. Are Bringing Change Today

Today’s social movements are still working to create social change. Most recently, the LGBTQ+ movement achieved one of its goals when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. The states’ rights movement is gaining momentum as more and more states are passing laws that contradict federal laws. The legalization of marijuana, immigration policy and national healthcare reform are major issues for advocates of states’ rights.

Social movements in the U.S. have brought about great change. If you are looking to use your sociology degree to work for a nonprofit or in government, having a deep understanding of how social movements are born and developed may prove useful. You can obtain your sociology degree online and study the development of social movements in the U.S.

Learn more about the Lamar University online B.S. in Sociology program.


Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: U.S. Social Movements

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Global Citizen: 10 Biggest Environmental Wins of 2019

Stacker: Famous Protests in U.S. History and Their Impacts


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