Johnson on Civil Rights

President Johnson on civil rights

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  • Created on: 27-06-12 07:35
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Johnson on Civil Rights
1. Would LBJ's background suggest he was an idealist or an unprincipled politician?
Johnson claims he is an idealist. He started out teaching Mexican-American students in a segregated
school and believes that education is their escape route from poverty and segregation. He was
motivated by memories of childhood poverty.
2. What do LBJ's public and private statements suggest about his views on race? Are there any
differences between them?
Johnson was hesitant publicly to go too fast in making changes for blacks for he believed it would
anger too many people if he made so many sudden changes. In private Johnson called blacks niggers.
He sometimes appeared inconsistent with racial relations because, although he was an idealist, he
had to remember where he stood politically.
3. What kind of help did LBJ propose providing for Blacks?
Johnson worked quietly to get black farmers and black schoolchildren equal treatment in his
congressional district.
4. Why did LBJ support the Brown decision?
Johnson had ambitions to become president and so he did not want to support the South too strongly
as it was likely to ruin his ambitions.
5. What can we learn from the 1957 Civil Rights Act about Johnson's views?
He was supporting the Act in theory but he diluted it so there wasn't anything against the
Southerners. He needed some dramatic legislative achievement if he wanted to be considered as a
serious presidential candidate.
6. Does Johnson's role as a senator show him to be committed to achieving civil rights?
Yes, his role as senator does show that he was committed to civil rights because he supported the
Brown ruling and the civil rights bill as long as it didn't get in the way of his presidential ambitions.
7. What evidence is there that Johnson was really committed to equal rights?
He orchestrated the passage of the 1957 civil rights act. This shows that he was determined to gain
equality for black by passing laws. Also, when he was vice-president for Kennedy, he chaired the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
8. Why did Johnson push through the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
He believed that discrimination was wrong and was determined to pass through Kennedy's civil
rights act even though he was told it would cost him the 1964 presidential election. To this Johnson
said "I'll pay it gladly".
9. Who should share the credit for the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
Hubert Humphrey was a congressional leader who also worked hard on the bill. Credit was also
owed to Kennedy as it was he who originally created the bill.
10. How important was the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
The Civil Rights Act was a greatly significant moment in American history and the signing of it was
televised as such. It finally gave the federal government the legal tools to end de jure segregation in
the South. However, the act did little to facilitate black voting and little to improve race relations.

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Did Johnson's actions improve Blacks' education?
By the 1960's the percentage of blacks with a high school diploma had increased to 60 per cent from
40 per cent. His Higher Education Act in 1965 gave significant aid to poor black colleges. Within a
decade the number of black college students had quadrupled.
12. What did the Votings Act do and was it successful?
Johnson's Voting Act stopped the literary tests and the `constitutional interpretation tests'.…read more

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Johnson played an important role in ending de jure segregation in the South. Johnson's Voting Rights
Act transformed Southern politics, by giving the blacks the chance to vote without fear. His Education
Acts speeded up school desegregation and helped black colleges. His civil rights legislation opened
the way for a larger and richer black middle class.
23. What criticisms have been made of Johnson?
Critics said that Johnson created a `welfare dependency' culture, and had caused federal
expenditure to rocket.…read more


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