Civil Rights: Truman and "To Secure These Rights"

The positive impacts Truman and his report "To Secure These Rights" on Civil Rights, and the impacts which were less effective.

  • Created by: Noid
  • Created on: 22-12-12 21:28

Civil Rights: Truman and "To Secure These Rights"


  • Executive Order 9980 (1948) outlawed racial discrimination in the civil service - de jure
  • CGCC (1951) ensured contracts would not go to racist employers. It could make or break companies, and ensured equality
  • Ralph Bunche and others made Ambassador to the United Nations, showing that black people can and are allowed to be employed with high professional jobs. It set an example for the rest of America.
  • Executive Order 9981 (1948) ended segregation in the army - de jure
  • Truman's inaugeration ceremony in 1949 was desegregated - a political stance on his own views on civil rights, set an example for the future and showed that desegregation could work
  • Washington Airport canteen was desegregated, allowing foreign visitors to see that America is desegregated
  • To Secure These Rights put civil rights on the political agenda once again, a fresh sheet for change which had not happened to this magnitude since Lincoln
  • Fair Employment Board to make sure racial discrimination did not exist in the workplace
  • Fair Deal to build houses for blacks


  • EO9980 Did not have any de facto change, mentality still existed
  • EO9981 did not actually have de facto change until Korean War of 1951-1953 out of necessity of war effort. It was expensive to provide multiple fascilities  and soldier numbers were low
  • Washington Airport did not reflect the rest of American society, and was purely a political boast with no foundation
  • To Secure These Rights did not have much de facto short-term effect
  • Fair Employment Board lacked funding and could not operate properly
  • Fair Deal Programme demolished more houses than was actually built.


The Federal Government made some success in tackling racial inequality between 1945-53. "To Secure These Right" 1947 report highlighted racism as unconstitutional and put Civil Rights on the political agenda, which had not been done to this magnitude since President Lincoln. It underlined the inequalities in American society, such as lynching, police brutality, voting obstacles for blacks, discrimination in the workplace, and desegregated  unequal facilities in healthcare and education. The success of the report was limited, as it was only recommendations and not actual action and movement for change. President Truman acted upon these problems by issuing Executive Orders. The Executive Order 9980 of 1948 outlawed racial discrimination in the civil service, though this had limited impact as it was only de jure and not de facto change, as people still kept the mentality of discrimination, despite of any laws issued. The Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC) of 1951 ensured government contracts did not go to racist employers. This committee was wholly successful, as it could make or break a company, and encouraged greatly the new equal stance on civil rights. Truman also appointed Ralph Bunche as the Ambassador to the United Nations, which set an example for the rest of America and proved that blacks could hold high positions in society. The Fair Employment board was also set up, though this lacked funding and did not operate properly. The Fair Deal Programme turned out to a complete setback as more houses were demolished than actually built. The Executive Order 9981 however was less successful  as it did not fully desegregate the armed forces until the beginning of the Korean War of 1951, as a monetary necessity as it was expensive to provide duel facilities and there was a lack of troops. Truman's inauguration Ceremony was openly desegregated, and this clearly stamped Truman's political ideology of Civil Rights and proved that desegregation was functional. It also set an example for future presidents, influencing them and their steps to equality. Truman also made Washington Airport canteen desegregated, though this was purely to show foreign visitors desegregation exists in America. It did not reflect the rest of  the country's society, and was purely a political boast which had no foundation of truth. Truman also did not take any implementations in Anti-Lynching laws, which degraded the core racial equality. Nonetheless, Truman was the first president in a long while to turn to Civil Rights, and he put the topic on the political agenda for other Presidents to act upon. The Federal Government at this time recognised its responsibility to address racism in the country, and although there was little de facto change, it encouraged future administrations to strive for racial equality.


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