What Are Examples of Intolerance?

Racial and religious intolerance led to slavery, the massacre and imprisonment of Native Americans, anti-Semitic behavior, Japanese and Japanese-American internment camps and the formation of the Hare Krishna. In 2015, gay men and women continue to fight for equal rights, including the right to marry.

In the United States, riots during the post-Civil War period underscored widespread racial intolerance. Slavery was not abolished until 1833, and even then, African-American churches and schools were burned in Memphis and New Orleans. The Klu Klux Klan also formed during this era. Though its membership waned during the early 20th century, it enjoyed a resurgence in the 1920s and remained vocal in its opposition of granting African-Americans in the United States equal rights.

Historians can trace intolerance in America to the European settlers who forced Native Americans to convert to Christianity and give up their land. In 1654, Peter Stuyvesant, claiming Jewish refugees would infect the colonial province New Netherland, attempted to expel them. Nearly 300 years later, Adolf Hitler attempted something similar in Nazi Germany.

In 1732, colonists in Georgia banned Catholicism. In 1844, a lynch mob murdered Mormon founder Joseph Smith in an Illinois prison. In 1920, a Massachusetts judge overseeing the murder trial of self-avowed anarchists and atheists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti often criticized their personal, political and religious beliefs, which led to their conviction.