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One of the original arguments for adding a Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution was that it was needed to protect individuals and minority groups from a potential tyranny of the majority. Whether it was the European Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, or the Japanese Americans the Bill of Rights was established to benefit all Americans, and only Americans. It dealt with individual liberties, as well as the boundaries between federal and state authority. Hoping to build a strong bond between Americans, the Bill of Rights failed. Article Fifteen states: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. For an American, there should be no problem. However, this was not always the case. For a time African Americans were unable to vote, and Slavery was well over; however they were still unable to vote. There are many examples of minority injustice in the unites States, but perhaps that strongest example was when the Japanese Americans were forced into internment Camps. Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 caused the United States to enter World War I. It also stirred hostility against Japanese people in the United States. Many Americans associated Japanese Americans with the Japanese pilots who destroyed U.S. Navy ships. The Executive Order 9066, signed by FDR in 1942, was designed to designate military areasfrom which any or all persons may be excluded. Curfews were established for the Japanese Americans, and they were confined to detention camps until their loyalty could be determined. More than 100,000 Japanese Americans were confined in ten detention camps scattered over seven states including:Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. As a result, the lives of Japanese Americans were completely turned upside down. They Lived in cramped, smellystalls without food and water for long periods of time. Many were confused and disturbed as to what was happening. And often wondered how could the U.S government do this to their fellow Americans? The people sent to these internment camps were Japanese “Americans”, this meant that they were born in the United States. However Art Shibayama stated in a teleconference, that even if you were 1/6 Japanese you were sent to the camps. The U.S. viewed these American born people as dangerous and hazardous, and felt they should be incarcerated. In the early 1940’s, there was evidence of Japanese American loyalty and innocence, but the information was not always well known. This, coupled with the factors of war hysteria led to the legal upholding of concentration camps. The injustice was clouded, most immediately by the war, and indirectly by racism at home. The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor left a permanent indent on the way Americans viewed the Japanese. Indeed, it was this one act which thrust the U.S. into the middle of the worlds largest war. The brutal attack, was viewed as sneaky and underhanded. Mainly because the Japanese were rumored to have an amazinglyeffective spy system on Hawaii and the West Coast. This led the Japanese Americans to become highly suspected. There is also the chasm of culture; ignorance is the key to racism and the average American knew very little of the lifestyle and customs of the Far East, which led to more suspicion. There was also factual information that played against the Japanese Americans. According to the Munson Report, 98% of Japanese Americans were loyal to the U.S.in an impressive number; however, in times of war, 2% sabotaging on mainland America was a major threat. This further tarnished the Japanese American reputation. There were even some conspiracy theorists that rationalized that the sneaky Japanese were merely waiting for the right time to strike, as they did at Pearl Harbor. The people were scared of the Japanese, and in a democracy, the people have a voice. Although Japanese Americans had a decent reputation as American citizens, people were too concerned with the war to acknowledge it. 112,000 Japanese Americans 60% of which were U.S. citizens born on U.S. soil were sent off to concentration camps, eventhouh there were Japanese loyally fighting in the American army. It is ironic that a country fighting for Democracy could demean it’s own citizens in this manner, but at that time “national safety” was considered more important because the U.S. was unsure of where the Japanese Americans loyalties were. Even though a large majority of Japanese American’s fought in a war on the side of the U.S. against the country they inherited thier culture, heritage, and ethnic orientation.


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