Lyndon B Johnson
Research papers on Lyndon B. Johnson discuss the fact that Johnson was the most influential person leading the US out of conflict during the Civil Rights Movement. Many people think of Kennedy or King, and do not think of Johnson. However, LBJ's leadership did more for the Civil Right Movement than any other person, as it helped both blacks and whites.
- Firstly, Eisenhower's Civil Rights Act of 1957 was essentially pushed through Congress by Johnson. Johnson was senate majority leader at the time. This Act guaranteed all Americans the right to vote - namely, it stated that it was against the law to impede another from voting in anyway what so ever.
- Secondly, the bill started by Kennedy, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was in fact passed by Johnson after Kennedy's death. Johnson did this specifically to honor the dead president. This Bill essentially strengthened the Bill of 1957, by extending the life of the Civil Rights Commission. It also made it a federal crime to use explosives in relation to civil rights issues.
- Thirdly, Johnson passed his own bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1965. "It suspended all literacy tests in seven of the former Confederate states and placed federal examiners in counties where black registration was below a prescribed level". The South has gravitated towards the Republican Party ever since.
- Fourthly, by safeguarding the right of blacks to vote, the number of elected black politicians has ballooned. "Furthermore, in the sixties, only a few hundred blacks had been elected to public office; now about nine thousand hold office, thanks in some part to the creation of safe minority districts that almost guaranteed a black candidate could win election" (Sweany, 2000).
- Finally, by giving blacks the right to vote, the South was legitimized in the eyes of northern politicians. Thus, "three of the six men who succeeded him (Johnson) have Southern roots. Sweany further notes that in the last election of 2000, both frontrunners were southerners.
No man did more for the Civil Rights movement than President Lyndon B. Johnson. He had been in Washington since the Depression. Presidents came and went, but it was Johnson's longevity in Washington, the Capitol and the White House; and his commitment to civil liberty that make him a standout among Civil Rights politicians. In the end, his efforts have helped blacks by insuring their right to vote and; thus, helped hundreds of black politicians get elected. Furthermore, by protecting the rights of blacks in the south, he helped legitimize white politicians in Washington; and this resulted in the election of several southern presidents. Therefore, by supporting the Civil Rights Movement, Johnson helped both black and whites.