The civil rights act 1964 was a path breaking act signed by the US government in many ways. This act was against segregation and discrimination in public places and employment based on sex, religion, colour, race etc. This is the achievement of the civil rights movement in The United States.
Here, we discuss:
- The Need for the Civil Rights Act
- What is Civil Rights Act?
- Lyndon B Johnson
This act was initially proposed by John F. Kennedy by was later signed officially by Lyndon B Johnson. The act was later expanded and made more stringent by legislating many other laws like voting rights act which gave many slaves and every American citizen the right to vote.
The Need for the Civil Rights Act
- Decades after abolishing slavery and giving citizenship many non Native Americans Discrimination based on race and colour was rampant in the United States. For many years after the famously known reconstruction the government has not signed any acts on civil rights.
- It was only in 1957 the US authorities started taking note of the ongoing discrimination and segregation in the public life, they have constituted a civil rights section in justice department.
- After John F. Kennedy sworn in as the President of the United States in 1961 he came up proposal for legislation. It was in 1963 when this proposal was placed in the Congress. It was for more comprehensive civil rights to the citizens of the United States. This proposal saw much opposition from the southern members of the Congress. However after the assassination of John F. Kennedy the new president Lyndon B. Johnson took the proposal and signed it into a law.
- The Senate voted 73-27 in favour of the Bill.
What is Civil Rights Act?
The Civil Rights Act 1964 was landmark legislation in the United States as it outlawed any form of segregation and discrimination in public places and employment based on sex, race, religion, colour, national origin etc. It has done away with unequal application of voter registration and racial segregation in school, offices, and public places etc. Some of the key points in this Civil Rights Act are:
- As mentioned on the site History, apart from these the act has also prohibited the use of federal funds for any discriminatory program.
- It also strengthened the voting rights of African American in the Southern States which were relatively weak in this aspect.
- The act authorised the department of education to desegregate school on the basis of race and colour.
- This law made way for much other progressive legislation which enhanced the voting power of African Americans by prohibiting literary tests and other discriminatory voting practices.
Lyndon B Johnson
- Lyndon was the 36th President of The Unites States. He was sworn into power as the President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Prior to this he was elected as the Vice President of the US. His political career started in Washington.
- He ran for a seat in the House for election as a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was the first member of the Congress to actively participate in the World War II.
- He was also awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry. During his time in the Senate he developed skill of negotiation and compromise with different political ideologies.
- Lyndon B. Johnson was known for the importance he gave for the civil rights bill proposed by John F. Kennedy. He courageously took the bill forwards amidst opposition from many southern states and got it passed it the Congress.
- Lyndon was widely appreciated and lauded for his progressive efforts in Medicare, Head start, Civil rights act, voting rights act, etc. As discussed in Britannica these reforms had profound impact on educating, voting, and civil liberties of the citizens of The Unites States.
- However he was criticised for disappointing result of the Vietnam War. He was called out for increasing American military involvement in Vietnamese War.
Lyndon B. Johnson was one of these Leaders of The Unites States who came to power at a very crucial time politically and socially. He was made the leader of a powerful nation overnight and much to the expectation of citizens he stood up and got the landmark act passed in the congress surviving a lot of opposition from the southern states.
The social reforms and progressive policies Lyndon rolled out have changed lives of many marginalised people of the country. They brought them out of suffering and discrimination of all kinds. The civil rights act was called as second emancipation. However the Vietnamese War and the way in which it was dealt has bought him a lot of criticism. This marred his political career and forced him to retire in a ranch in Texas. All these political moves which were both appreciated and criticised made him one of the greatest leaders the word has ever seen.