Japanese Internment Essay, Research Paper
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.? Did it work? Well, it depends on your viewpoint. Whether it was the Americans or the African-Americans, the Native Americans, or the Japanese Americans. The Bill of Rights were established to benefit the Americans, and only the Americans. They dealt with individual liberties, as well as the boundary 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 is no problem. When a minority member goes to vote, they find that they are unable; they do not have the right. Why is this? Why are African Americans unable to vote? Slavery has supposedly ended; but they are still unable to vote. The Bill of Rights was supposed to protect minorities from a potential ?tyranny of the majority.? And the answer is: No, it did not. There are many examples, but perhaps that strongest example are the Japanese Americans and the 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 had destroyed U.S. Navy ships. The Executive Order 9066, signed by FDR in 1942, was designed to designate military areas from 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: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. As a result, their lives were completely turned upside down. These camps were a living hell. Living in cramped, smelly stalls; being without food and water for long periods of time. The Japanese Americans were forced to accept this new way of life. Many were confused and disturbed as to what was happening.
How could the U.S government do this to their fellow Americans? They were trapping their own people. The people sent to these internment camps were Japanese Americans, this meant that they were born in the United States, as well as Japanese citizens. It was stated in the teleconference by Art Shibayama, 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. But how could an American military send people to internment camps because they are American? The United States is supposed to be a country for all people; that is what is said in the U.S. Constitution. But why were people being incarcerated because of their nationality?
After this conflict, how could one read the U.S. Constitution and think that it promotes liberty and equality? Well, it does…for American citizens, only. The United States Constitution is a violation of a person?s constitutional rights and it was unsuccessful at protecting minorities from the tyranny of the majority.