Death of JFK.
- 'No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honour President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights Bill for which he fought for so long'
- Johnson made emotive appeal to national traditions and ideals and to Kennedy's memory.
- LBJ felt that the death of Kennedy prevented the bill being emasculated, like Eisenhower's had been. The nation was saddened and passing the bill seemed an appropriate tribute.
- Congressmen knew their constituents were usually receptive at this time to righting national wrongs, partly because they felt it would somehow atone for Kennedy's death.
1 of 3
Pressure from the Civil Rights Movement.
- There was increasing support from religious organisations after Birmingham.
- NAACP, trade unionists and the churches had lobbied Congress incessantly.
- Black activists had drawn the attention of the nation and its legislators to injustices. 'The real hero of this struggle is the American *****', said LBJ.
- Important Congressional leaders such as Hubert Humphrey worked hard on the bill.
2 of 3
- The Republican minority leader Everitt Dirkson was won over by Kennedy, and then Johnson, and persuaded to 'deliver' Republican votes.
- As a southerner, LBJ could assert that legislation was necessary, without being accused of being an ignorant, interfering, northern liberal.
- LBJ had an unusual two-thirds of Congress on his side (it's rare to have both a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic president).
- LJB won over a few southerners by appealing to their self interests
- LBJ devoted a staggering amount of time, energy and political capital to breaking the Senate filibuster and ensuring the passing of the act.
- Due to his 24 years in Congress, for many of which he was Democratic party leader, Johnson had unprecedented experience in getting legislations through Congress.
- The act had increasing public support, which Congress could not afford to ignore. By Jan. 1964, 68% of Americans favoured the bill.
- All living Presidents, Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, agreed to sign a statement supporting the principle of civil rights. This made it easier for LBJ to assert that southerners were out of line.
3 of 3