Via multiple movements led by four pairs of individuals, a contemporary scenario where people from outside the white, the male, and the protestant Christian typecast hold, or could hold, positions of political power and where these same people seek to pass legislature that would shake traditional foundations has manifested.
The United States’ foundation on a bedrock of big business and capitalism, which has since become an icon of “Americanism,” must first come slightly undone to achieve a modern scenario, alongside the granting of political leverage to minorities, both religious and racial. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act pushed by Senator John Sherman showed that even the United States will not shy away from regulating capitalism for the benefit of the people, or at least for a healthy market. This trend experienced rejuvenation under William H. Taft and Franklin D. Roosevelt as they both took to actively stamping out further trusts. Alongside the Wagner Act protecting the right to unionize, FDR pushed his New Deal Coalition which saw the first instance of organized targeting of minority political support, giving the racial and religious minorities political influence in Washington D.C. at the cost of some capitalistic autonomy. These policies of government interventionism slowly grew until the modern era where government works programs and social programs thrive as commonplace. In these displays of progressive economics, Sherman and Roosevelt would set a precedent of left-winged economics that has only grown since then to the point where concepts of government-owned companies and publicly operated services face normalcy and possible implementation.
Susan B. Anthony and Jane Roe
Susan B. Anthony and Jane Roe, along with countless others acted as iconic names and dedicated warriors for women’s rights, both political and otherwise who dealt blows to American traditionalism and paved the way for women to hold immense seats of political power. Anthony, who was arrested multiple times and faced widespread national praise and ridicule for her tireless quest against the exclusion of women in what has since become considered a universal right to participate in government. Eventually, with the help of the Women’s Rights Movements and friends in Washington D.C. Anthony and company witnessed the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution pass Congress. Later in US history, Jane Roe fought in Roe vs. Wade at the US Supreme Court that ended with the legalization of abortion – foreboding the decline of puritan Protestantism’s influence in US politics. Similar to modern clamors, Anthony and Roe and their movements were accused of destroying the traditional institutions of marriage and child-rearing – a precedent with clear temporal ripples in modern politics.
Al Smith and Jeanette Rankin
During the women’s rights movements and post-war era, iconic figures began to break walls for women and religious minorities having political power. As women achieved suffrage their votes held the gaze of politicians, granting them political leverage, and this gave some people with sway among their progressive base more power. For example, Al Smith, himself a Catholic, became elected as the governor of New York due to his immense sway over Catholics, women, and Jews in his state. His political successes represented the success of minorities and women in acquiring representative power. Jeanette Rankin, later, became the first female elected official, representing Montana in the US House of Representatives – a precedent that could eventually manifest in a female holding the presidency.
Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy
In perhaps the most iconic fashions, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy became the pinnacle points of their movements – their deaths marked the desperation of a conservative movement and the ascension of modern progressivism. Both men championed the Civil Rights Movement and JFK represented non-protestant political leaders. Following their murders, the United States witnessed their legacies, the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the American acceptance of western religions’ (Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism) adherents in politics. Since these assassinations, Americans realized the gravity of the situation; clearly races have experienced continued inequality, however from this moment onward, the minority role in US political power suffers no more denial from either side of the political spectrum.
Ultimately, history demonstrates that through influential people and the movements that they birth and that surround them, the current political situation of representatives of women, non-whites, and non-protestants, vying for political power to make untraditional decisions does not come randomly.