A level Edexcel History Civil Rights essay A grade answer

Which President was the most important in terms of advancing Civil Rights in the period 1945-1968?

A grade answer

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  • Created on: 17-04-13 07:33
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Which President was the most important in terms of advancing Civil Rights in the period 1945-1968?
Mykel Parle
The four presidents of the United States between the period 1945-1969 showed interest in gaining
Civil rights or helped progress the movement during their years in office. Even though all four were
involved in the Civil Rights Struggle, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the most important in terms of
advancing Civil rights, as he spent his time in office attempting to progress Civil Rights up until his
assassination. Days after Kennedy's death, Lyndon Johnson stated to congress (who opposed John F
Kennedy's Civil Rights Act) "No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President
Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights Bill for which he fought so
long." Lyndon Johnson may have got the Civil Rights Act passed through Congress, but it was Kennedy
who introduced it. Kennedy's death made Johnson determined to pass the act through congress.
Harry Truman had a large involvement but made little progress in advancing Civil rights compared to
the three presidents who succeeded him but openly spoke out against segregation and inequality. In
1947, Truman was infuriated with tales of returning black WW2 veterans being mercilessly beaten
and abused. He openly addressed this problem, much to the annoyance of Southern Democrats, he
stated `my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from
overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten.' This led to Truman
establishing a committee on civil rights to investigate the state of race relations in America. The
committee created `To Secure These Rights', which stated that discrimination was morally wrong on
moral, economic and international grounds. This was hugely symbolic as it was the first instance in
which the federal government admitted that there was a racial problem. However, it was nothing
more than symbolic as no laws were passed to enforce these recommendations. In 1948, Truman
issued Executive Order 9981, which brought an end to segregation in the armed forces. This was
significant in improving civil rights, but was hugely limited as only the Army was desegregated. Even
though Truman was first to acknowledge the racial problem and desegregated the army, his
achievements in advancing Civil rights was extremely limited. Truman spoke out against lynching and
segregation, which most of congress, especially Southern congressmen, disapproved off. Truman
could not persuade congress to pass the laws so his civil rights achievements were extremely limited.
There were many advancements towards Civil Rights were made during Dwight Eisenhower's time in
office (1953-61). This was due to the black population started to fight for their freedom and get
organized. Unlike Truman, President Eisenhower failed to take substantial action. He was not as keen
as Truman to gain racial equality. He, like many other whites had fears of miscegenation and feared
that `great emotional strains' would arise from desegregating schools. He rejected the
re-establishment of the FEPC as he opposed large scale federal intervention in issues. The reasons
behind his inactivity were mainly political. Due to his party (Republican) having disagreements with
the Democrats over civil rights, the Republican Party done incredibly well in Southern States. If the
Republican Party started to endorse civil rights, their party would lose and Eisenhower was afraid of
stirring up opposition.

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Despite Eisenhower hindering the progression of Civil Rights, a lot of progress was still made, but the
majority of Civil Rights Achievements in his presidency had limitations. The Brown vs. Board of
Education legal case was settled on 17th May 1954 and was massively significant as it called for
desegregation of all public schools across the nation.…read more

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The Bay of Pigs. Kennedy's presidency was symbolic as he
appointed Thurgood Marshall, a leading member of the NAACP, as a judge. However, he also
appointed segregationists as judges to balance the courts. African Americans were not happy with
this and the fact that Kennedy at the time due to lack of legislation.
Kennedy was unable to witness his Civil Rights Act being passed through congress. In 1964 Lyndon
Johnson managed to bring the Civil Rights act Kennedy fought for so long into action.…read more

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Fitzgerald Kennedy. Not because of our sorrow or sympathy, but because they are right." It is likely
that if Kennedy had not been assassinated, his Civil Rights Act would not have been passed, and
Lyndon Johnson may not have been as determined to pass the Civil Rights bill. Ultimately, Kennedy's
assassination massively progressed the progress of Civil Rights.…read more



That was very well written .. and i was wondering did you get 30/30 on it?

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