What Was the Main Conflict in American History?

Throughout American history, there have been many conflicts that have shaped the country’s identity. However, one conflict stands out as the main conflict that has driven the most significant changes in American society. This conflict is none other than the struggle for civil rights.

The fight for civil rights began long before America even became a nation, with the enslavement of Africans and their eventual emancipation during the Civil War. However, it was not until the 20th century that this conflict gained national attention and sparked widespread activism.

The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a pivotal moment in American history. It was a time when African Americans and their allies fought tirelessly for equal rights under the law. This movement was led by figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated for nonviolent protest to bring about change.


One of the biggest issues during this time was segregation – the practice of separating people based on race. Segregation was pervasive in American society, from schools to public transportation to restaurants and more. The Civil Rights Movement sought to end segregation and create a more equal society.

Marches and Protests

To accomplish this goal, activists organized marches and protests across the country. These events drew attention to the injustices faced by African Americans and put pressure on lawmakers to take action. One of the most famous events was the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

  • Rioting
  • Violent Clashes with Police
  • Nationwide Outrage

Unfortunately, not everyone supported these efforts, leading to riots and violent clashes with police in some instances. However, these events also sparked nationwide outrage against racism and discrimination.

Legal Victories

Despite the obstacles faced by civil rights activists, they were able to achieve significant legal victories. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated barriers that prevented African Americans from voting.

Impact on American Society

The fight for civil rights had a profound impact on American society. It brought attention to the systemic racism and discrimination that existed and prompted changes in laws and attitudes. It also paved the way for other social justice movements, such as those for women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights.


Overall, while there have been numerous conflicts throughout American history, the struggle for civil rights stands out as the most significant. This conflict brought attention to issues of discrimination and racism in American society and sparked widespread activism and legal change. Its impact can still be felt today in the ongoing fight for equality and justice.