Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act

Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act


johnson realized that if he wanted to be president of
the united states he had to have a national base and he had to appeal to
people in the north and the only way he could do that was by basically appealing on an issue of race %uh and appearing to be different
from the hard-core southern %uh %uh supporters of always had cultivated so he decides that the fifty seven civil rights
act is going to be the occasion for his doing this now johnson is someone who on civil rights
issues voted against the fair employment practice commission
voted against the anti lynching bill voted against %um abolition of the poll tax johnston is someone who called his driver the n_-word
all his life %uh he told him that’s the way it’s going to be if you want
to get along in this world you better accept it exactly yeah and now johnson is reaching out and he’s trying
to find ways of wheeling and dealing with individuals in order
to get himself as the sole instrument by which the civil rights act can pass and so he vitiates the most powerful
segments of the bill gets those defeated then goes one-on-one to various people in
the south and in the north makes the case to the south that if you don’t go along with this the north will get more
goes to the north and says %uh unless you accept this the south will
block the whole thing makes deals with people from the west who want
canyons and water dams and stuff like that %uh and essentially gets this fifty seven civil rights bill passed no one knows what he’s promised to everybody they don’t know ’cause it’s not public discourse
what the issues are but they all come together and eventually pass this bill and it’s the first civil rights bill that’s been passed since eighteen
seventy-five now the problem with the bill is that it doesn’t do anything and yet symbolically it is a major break and
that is what allows johnson to be %uh make the segue and transition into being
a national political figure and it gives him to some extent the %uh legitimacy when he becomes president after
kennedy’s assassination to wrap himself in the mantle of civil
rights %uh and to use this as Kennedy’s legacy this excerpt is brought to you by the massachusetts
school of law 0:02:21.629,0:02:25.870

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