Significant Western Social Movements of the 20th Century

Universal Suffrage

The Women’s Suffrage movement began in the mid-19th century across much of the West, where women fought for the right to vote and to enjoy equal rights to men. Many notable protests and demonstrations took place across decades to aid this movement, which eventually saw universal suffrage established in the UK and US in various stages between 1918 and 1928.

Counter Culture

The counterculture movement began to develop in the United States in the early 60s and spread across much of the Western world. In contrast with the social conformity of the wartime and post-war period, by the 60s younger generations had begun questioning and rejecting the conservative ideologies and social norms of their parents. The counterculture movement was a broad and multilateral movement which developed interdependently with other social movements of the same era such as the anti-Vietnam war movement and the Civil Rights Movement. The counterculture movement underpinned the Hippie subculture, culminating in the famous Summer of Love in 1967.

Racial Equality

The Civil Rights Movement was predominantly fought across the United States, but it influenced similar movements for racial equality across the West. The movement consisted of a number of nonviolent protests and shows of civil disobedience aimed at ending legal segregation and attaining equal right and social status for Black citizens. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Civil Rights Movement lasted decades before the landmark Civil Rights Acts of 1964-68 finally outlawed racial discrimination and enshrined racial equality in law.

LGBTQ+ Liberation

In the early hours of the morning on June 28th, 1969, the New York City Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, Downtown Manhattan. The protesting crowd quickly turned into violent riots against the police forces arresting gay men and lesbians, which in turn sparked the fight for LGBTQ+ rights across the West. The Stonewall Riots are seen as the most significant event in the history of LGBTQ+ liberation and the first ever Pride Parades were held a year later on the anniversary of the event.

Between workers’ rights, equality, and suffrage, the 19th and 20th centuries brought countless social movements and offshoots thereof, as the liberation of some minority groups inspired others to stand up and fight for equality. Unfortunately, some of these movements still haven’t achieved true equality even today, leaving many protest groups left fighting for recognition and support. Show yours with our ranges of socialist t-shirts.