12 Protests That Changed History

12 Protests That Changed History

The incredible power of people.
23341
views

A democracy is defined as "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system." That means that ultimately, the power lies with the people. We the people have been given a voice in the government and we have the right to exercise that voice in order to create change. This change manifests itself most powerfully when multiple voices come together in opposition to something in the form of protests or marches.

The problem is that as humans, we're pretty adverse to change. It can be scary to stand up for something when everyone around you is telling you that you will fail. For as many people that stand up to call for change, there are twice as many people telling them to sit back down again. But without change, we would never grow. As our former president wisely said, "I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours."

Protests unite people. Protests raise awareness. Protests demonstrate the incredible power of ordinary people. They give a voice to the voiceless and hold government forces accountable for their actions. So the next time you're feeling powerless against the administration, or the next time you scoff at another protest on the news, remember some of the men and women that came before you and shaped the course of history with their voice. You can thank some of these movements, marches, protests and rallies for the rights that you have today.

1. Boston Tea Party, 1773

The Boston Tea Party was one of the earliest documented protests in America. Back when America consisted of 13 British colonies, the tax on imported goods like paper, tea and paint was extremely high. To protest this tax, several colonists snuck onto a British ship at night and dumped 340 crates of tea into the harbor. This act of protest sparked the American Revolution, which ultimately ended in America's freedom from British rule.

2. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963

In one of the most famous speeches in American history, Martin Luther King Jr., backed by 200,000 supporters that turned out to the Lincoln Memorial, protested the racial inequality that was keeping African Americans from having the same rights as whites. After his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, MLK met with President Kennedy to discuss new legislation to remedy these issues.

The movement is credited with building support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on gender, race, color, religion, or ethnicity. It also banned segregation in businesses. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits racial discrimination in voting and successfully removed many barriers that states had used to keep African Americans from voting in elections.

3. Women's Suffrage Parade, 1913

In 1913, 8,000 marchers, accompanied by nine bands, 20 floats, and four mounted brigades, gathered in Washington D.C. the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration to fight for women's right to vote. It was the first suffrage parade of its kind. Though it took seven more years, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.

4. The Monday Demonstrations, 1982-1989

What started as a weekly prayer meeting turned into a movement that helped bring down the Berlin Wall. In 1982, a German pastor started a weekly prayer service on Mondays to spread the message of peace in the middle of the ongoing Cold War.

Soon, people from all ages and religious backgrounds began seeking weekly sanctuary in his church. A dozen people grew to thousands of people, despite German officials' efforts to blockade the streets around the church. Right before the wall came down, around 300,000 peaceful protestors gathered on a Monday in late October of 1989. One week later, the Berlin Wall was knocked down, reuniting West and East Germany.

5. The Temperance Movement, 1800s-1920

Though the Temperance Movement seems ridiculous today, it was actually quite a powerful and historically significant movement. The idea behind the movement was that by prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol, societal crime rates would go down and overall health would improve.

Many different groups lobbied and rallied under the name of the Temperance Movement until the 18th Amendment was passed in January of 1920. The Prohibition lasted for about 23 years until it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933- which you can thank Anti-Prohibition protestors for.

6. Gandhi's Salt March, 1930

India was still under the oppressive control of the British in 1930. At this time, Indians were prohibited from making or selling salt (a staple in the Indian diet) on their own under the Salt Act and were instead forced to buy it at high prices from the British.

Mohandas Gandhi decided to march with about a dozen people to the coast to make sea salt, which he figured would be a nonviolent way to defy the British and release India from their control by breaking the law. Tens of thousands of people ended up joining his march, and under Gandhi's guidance, India was able to break free from British rule in1947.

7. March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, 1993

In 1993, over 800,000 people marched on the National Mall for the rights of the LGBTQ community. They were seeking anti-discrimination laws that would protect citizens from being discriminated against based on sexual identity and an increase in funding for AIDS research. The march helped gain national social recognition for the LGBTQ community. Since then, same-sex marriage has been legalized and great strides have been made in regards to studying and finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

8. Protestant Reformation, 1517-1685

The Protestant Reformation is a poignant reminder that sometimes all it takes is one spark to start a fire. Martin Luther is widely credited for being the spark that started the Protestant Reformation, a movement that completely upended the Catholic Church and changed the way that people practiced religion on a global scale. One man's voice, in the form of the list of "95 Theses," was enough to create an entirely new religious sect (that literally has the word "protest" in its name).

9. Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Protest, 1911

In 1911, 146 workers were killed by a fire in an unsafe factory. At the time, workers often dealt with extremely hazardous working conditions. The tragedy prompted a march on New York's Fifth Avenue of nearly 80,000 people. This march helped to pass new laws to ensure workplace safety and helped the growing union movement. This eventually led to laws that we still use today, like the minimum wage requirement and the right to collectively bargain as a union.

10. Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1865

The goal of the Abolitionist Movement was to end slavery and racial discrimination. It took off in the 1830's and persisted for nearly 40 years. The abolitionists faced constant resistance and opposition from the government, states, and fellow citizens that eventually grew into the Civil War. Finally, in 1965, the 13th Amendment was passed to abolish slavery.

11. The Anti-War Movement, 1967-1972

There is some debate as to whether this movement actually helped to end the Vietnam War, but there's no denying the cultural and social significance of the anti-war protesting that happened in the late 60s and early 70s. At first, the protests started in general opposition to the war in Vietnam. But in 1971, when the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the press, the mood shifted. The Pentagon Papers contained about 7,000 pages worth of information on the war that the government had been trying to cover up, which made people angry. This set the precedence for the people's general mistrust of the government and reinforced the important role of the press to deliver the truth to the people.

12. The Storming of the Bastille, 1789

One of the more violent protests in world history, the Storming of the Bastille occurred in July of 1789. Tired of being ruled by a harsh monarchy, the French people stormed a state prison on the east side of Paris that had become a symbol of the government they despised. A violent battle ensued, which ended in the murder of the governor. This attack marked the beginning of the French Revolution, which ultimately led to the replacement of the monarchy with a republic government. The French still celebrate Bastille Day every year on July 14.

Cover Image Credit: WIki Media

Popular Right Now

A Thank You Letter To My Best Friend

All the things I should thank you for more often than I do.
111790
views

To My Best Friend,

This thank you is long overdue. There are so many things I want to thank you for, and I’m sure I’m going to still be missing some by the end of this letter. But here is a small token of my gratitude for just being by my side in this life and making it all worthwhile.

Thank you first of all for accepting me and loving me for exactly who I am. This isn’t easy. I can be stubborn, difficult and confusing, but you love and accept me for me. There are days I wonder when you’ll finally come to your senses and move on and find a new BFF, one who isn’t so complicated, but to my amazement, you never do. You tell me you’ll take the good with the bad, and when I question whether I have any good left, you’re always there to reassure me and show me that I do. Thank you for loving me in my dorky and difficult moments, moments where if the rest of the world saw them, they’d probably walk away. Thank you for understanding me like no one else does; if we didn’t have the connection we did, I can’t imagine how lonely and big this world would feel. Because of you, this world seems like a little friendlier place, one I can see myself being a part of.

Thank you for being my biggest fan. Besides my family, you are my biggest supporter, and I know that when I win, you win, and when you win, I win. In this battle we call life, it doesn’t matter who’s in my opponents corner, because I know I am always going to have you in mine, and that’s the best asset I could ever ask for. You encourage me to chase my dreams like no one else does, and I can tell that you sincerely hurt when I hurt — not many people care about me in such a deep way. Whatever crazy dream I tell you I’m going to chase after next, you believe I can do it, even when the rest of the world thinks I’m crazy for even suggesting it. When something good happens, you’re the first person I want to tell, and when something bad happens, you’re the first one I go to for support.

Thank you for being you. You are incredible my dear, and I can’t wait to constantly remind your husband that he got crazy lucky and out kicked his coverage big time. You are beautiful inside and out. On the outside, you are so gorgeous; you’re very own unique and incredible definition of beauty, and I know I’m one of many who see it. You’re intimidating to stand next to in pictures because I know your light shines so bright, but I’ll gladly stand next to you and take a picture, because I’m so excited to show the world how breathtakingly beautiful my best friend is. On the inside you are even prettier, with a warm heart, a sharp mind and an unbelievable personality. You are hands down the funniest person I know, and I still can’t believe that someone as funny and hilarious as you chooses to spend her time with someone as dweeby and awkward as me. I mean, half the time we’re laughing at some fail I had or something stupid I did, so I guess I contribute a little bit to our constant laughing. You are so kind and so sweet, and have the biggest heart of anyone I know. God spent a little extra time when he made you, because you’re the total package: you’re beautiful, awesome and amazing, all wrapped in one, and I’m so lucky he put you in my life—he knows I’d be lost without you.

Thank you for being there for me whenever I need it. It was once said that “all that relationships are are being there for someone when they need you,” and you’re a pro at this. Whether it be because another boy is being stupid or I’m feeling alone, I know all I need to do is call you, and I’ll instantly feel better. You help my through the countless problems Lord knows I have trouble solving, and you reassure me that no matter what, you’re always going to be there for me. This is huge, and something very few people have been able to do for me, but you always have, and I know you always will be. And that is the most reassuring thing I know, knowing that if all hell breaks loose, the world falls apart and I have no one, I’ll have you. And that is all I need.

Thank you for being a spark, a light in my life that no matter how dark the world around us gets, is always there to light my way and show me the way home. Thank you for laughing with me when God blesses us with a funny moment, and crying with me when God is trying to tell me something. Thank you for standing beside me in the greatest of moments and the darkest of hours. Thank you for being the one I share my fondest memories with: all the nights we stayed up really late, all the exciting adventures we went on and all the inside jokes we still laugh about today. Thank you for growing up with me; for being there every step of the way and creating some of my happiest moments with me. Thank you for all the memories I've shared with you, and I can't wait for what crazy adventure we're going to go on next.

So thank you for accepting me, loving me, and supporting me. Thank you for being your wonderful self, and thank you for being there for me, through thick and thin, even when I'm at my lowest. Thank you for shining your brilliant light into my life and illuminating my world.

Oh, and thank you for being my maid of honor. I know I won’t need to ask you for a while, but you had to know it was coming, right?

Thank you for being the godmother to my future children, the sister to my family, and another daughter to my parents.

And finally, thank you for being the best to my friend.

Cover Image Credit: EnkiVillage

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Gun Control Debate Comes Down To The Power Of God

My opinion on two parts to the most, in every sense of the word, "loaded" issue.
349
views

There are a plethora of difficult issues in a Christian's life, and despite what it looks like on social media and mainstream media, gun control is high on that list. It pains me to see such a divide on this issue. Liberals are painted as children who want to give up all their rights, while conservatives are seen as idiots who value guns more than human life. And Christian conservatives are seen as hypocritical Pharisees, not unlike the Nazis.

But we all know, at least I hope we all know, that this isn’t the case for either side. We all love our families, and we all cherish life. We all prefer a world where murder doesn’t exist or at least a world where mass murders don’t exist. We all want a world where our children, siblings, friends, and parents can live safely

So, what gives? If we value the same things, why are we so divided on gun control? The answer, I believe, has more layers and more depth than I could ever hope to understand, let alone write about. But I can share my own thoughts and concerns on the issue in hopes that it is a positive, edifying contribution to the dialogue.

There are two main parts to the gun control debate that most social media posts can be divided into: Gun Control Laws, and the reason for gun control. What I mean by Gun Control Laws tends to either challenge or support certain claims like “more guns= more deaths.” The second part, the reason for gun control, asks why school shootings and general acts of terrorism are happening in an attempt to answer if gun control is even needed. I think the reason why communication on this topic is so difficult is that people are often arguing on these different parts of the same topic. So, I hope my own thoughts, or rambling at this point, can help with the general discussion, even if it’s just a Conservative Christian’s (note: not a conservative that’s also a Christian) opinion on Gun Control.

The first issue, the gun control laws, is that the gun control debate is not about gun control, and it’s not about guns. I’m talking about the debate itself, the “dialogue” surrounding gun control. I think a gun control debate would look into methods and strategies of gun control. It assumes a bipartisan agreement that gun control is actually needed, which we haven’t reached, at least, not on a mass level.

Rather, the debate is about us: the people who are gunned down, the people that witness the deaths of friends and family, the people that hear about the tragedy on the news or social media, the people that want to do something. It is also about the people that seemingly don’t want to do something. It is also about the people who shoot other people, the people who go on shooting sprees in schools and other public places. The issue is about an enormous, democratic nation that is split on almost every topic, like a Giant with feet that does not want to walk in the direction its walking, arms that does not want to hold the things its holding, and a head that plans out things it does not want to plan out.

But the solution isn’t somehow forcing half of the individual body to a restriction or code. The United States isn’t a single body, it’s a group of people divided into 50 states, each with their own restrictions, which are at least just as strict as any overarching restriction. And in each state, there are municipalities. This is good because individual people are different! And oftentimes, people in a certain area tend to think alike, or agree on the same ideas.

It feels like people forget that there are stricter gun laws on the state level than the Federal level. For example, Minnesota has gun restrictions on the mentally challenged. If one feels those restrictions aren’t sufficient, one could work on changing the local, or state laws. In fact, it might be easier to work on the local and state level rather than the federal level.

The second issue, which is the reason for gun control, isn’t about us. It’s about God. The United States might work like some form of democracy, but any leader or government was placed there by God, and even they are subject to the authority of God.

But this doesn’t mean God is okay with the murderous lashes of people. God is very much against murder. He is against any form of action that places a person in the seat of the Judge. By judge, I mean defining actions, or cases, according to one’s own prescription, for example, the judge of who lives and who dies, who steals and who’s robbed, who’s to be loved and who’s to be hated… the judge of who’s judge and who isn’t judge, the judge of who’s God and who isn’t God.

Sadly, there are people who do play Judge, like the Parkland shooter, or the Santa Fe shooter, or even myself. To think that I’ve never judged in one way or another is a lie. I do it every day. But admitting that society is filled with self righteous people doesn’t solve anything, it won’t solve mass shootings, it won’t stop sin. The lamentations of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes comes to mind, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

What I’m trying to say is that whether or not we have strict gun control, loose gun control, or no gun control, we won’t be any better off. The United States in 1918 wasn’t any better then than it is now in 2018. Horrors have been performed now that the people then could never imagine. And people then practiced things that were so horrible, we riot against them a century later.

I think my conclusion, then, would come from Ecclesiastes, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

But I’ll also tack on a line from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, “...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can work hard to make this world a better place by pushing for stricter gun control, by lobbying for or against issues, and by protesting for what we believe in. But the most we can ever do is pray.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Related Content

Facebook Comments