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Comparison of the civil rights struggle methods in Australia and America

Despite the USA and Australia’s positive images of democratic countries, it has not always been that the governments of both countries ensured their populations’ civil and political rights. A long history of both violent and non-violent resistance shows a real price of freedoms attained. Both USA and Australia faced different social problems that defined the scope and intensity of revolts. Whereas the US black population actively used both violent and non-violent methods of resistance, the indigenous people of Australia had neither resources, nor ability to turn the civil rights movement into violent.

The US Civil Rights Movement was rooted in a four-hundred-year enslavement of black people and denial their political and civil rights. During this long course of history black people practiced a variety of methods to rebel: ruining their masters’ equipment, escaping from plantations, and even organizing military revolts. The abolition of slavery, although did not resolve the civil rights issue, gave black people bright prospects of pursuing their civil rights – the NAACP silent march on the Fifth Avenue, foundation of the American Negro Labour Congress, and the CORE movement provided black Americans with strategic tools of fighting for their rights Finally, Martin Luther King’s emphasis on eradication of the economic injustice and segregation and his cooperation with a variety of civil rights movements resulted in adoption of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The Act is often considered to be the milestone of the US victorious struggle for civil rights.

The Australian civil rights movement differed from that of US’s by scope of the conflict and its intensity. By 1950s, aborigines, unlike their African-American counterparts, were almost excluded from Australian society – they did not have rights to vote, to receive governmental benefits, and even officially guard their children (National Museum Australia). The positive changes toward civil rights’ acquisition occurred when Aboriginal activists found support among non-Aboriginal and organized campaigns for equal rights. The nuclear tests in 1956 and deaths among indigenous population were other factors of additional pressure on government (National Museum Australia). Finally, the Australian community outburst with criticism after release of the movie Manslaughter, which demonstrated harsh reality of Aboriginal life. By the end of 1970s Aboriginal people received basic civil, political, and economic rights using peaceful methods of resistance and international community’s support (National Museum Australia).


The main differences between methods of struggling for civil rights are their intensity and different starting opportunities of African-Americans and aborigines. Whereas African American were more or less included to the US society and had access to informational, financial, and organizational resources that allowed them to organize a full-scale civil rights campaign, the aborigines would not have gotten their rights without non-aborigines’ support and their pressure on government.

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