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In the year 1990, on this day in history, July 26, George H H W Americans with Disabilities Act is signed by Bush


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    On this day in history, July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the most sweeping affirmation of rights for the disabled in American history, according to History.com.

    President Bush signed the act into law on the South Lawn of the White House South Lawn in front of an audience of 3,000 people, according to the White House's website.  

    "On that day, America became the first country to adopt a comprehensive civil rights declaration for people with disabilities," the same source cited.

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    The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits any type of discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places that are open to the general public, notes the ADA National Network. 

    "The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else," the same source said.

    boy with disabilities in a wheelchair

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, "guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications." (iStock)

    Also, the ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion, the ADA Network indicated. 

    "It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications," the same source recounted.

    The ADA went through numerous drafts, revisions, negotiations and amendments since the first version was introduced in 1988. 

    President George H.W. Bush said at the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, "Our success with this act proves that we are keeping faith with the spirit of our courageous forefathers who wrote in the Declaration of Independence: `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’"

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    He went on, "These words have been our guide for more than two centuries as we've labored to form our more perfect union," according to the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. 

    President Bush went on to say, "Today's legislation brings us closer to that day when no Americans will ever again be deprived of their basic guarantee of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the same source recounted. 

    The ADA went through numerous drafts, revisions, negotiations and amendments since the first version was introduced in 1988, according to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

    It would be a comprehensive civil rights law for persons with disabilities. 

    In April 1988, in the 100th Congress, Sen. Lowell Weicker of Connecticut and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa introduced legislation envisioned by the National Council on Disabilities.

    It was the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1988 that included far-reaching civil rights policy, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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    "After its public hearing, the proposal, a first legislative step, focused attention on the need for comprehensive legislation. It became the blueprint for the Americans with Disabilities Act and started the momentum for future legislative action," the same source stated. 

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    During a ceremony on the White House's South Lawn, President George H.W. Bush (seated, center) signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), in Washington, D.C., July 26, 1990.  (Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)

    Also, 1988 was a presidential election year — and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was running for president. 

    Vice President Bush announced a campaign promise: If elected, he would seek passage of a bill integrating people with disabilities into the mainstream of American life. 

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    It would be a comprehensive civil rights law for persons with disabilities, the United States Department of Health stated.

    President Bush kept his campaign promise and signed the legislation in 1990.

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    On the White House's South Lawn, US President George HW Bush (1924 - 2018) speaks prior to the signing ceremony of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (or ADA), Washington DC, July 26, 1990. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)

    To further protect the rights of disabled citizens, on Sept. 25, 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law by President George W. Bush and became effective on Jan. 1, 2009. 

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    The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of "disability."

    It expanded the population of those considered disabled under the ADA, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Erica Lamberg is a contributing reporter for Fox News Digital.

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