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Historic Vote #3: The Civil Right Act of 1964


Historic Vote #3: The Civil Right Act of 1964  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. If you were a Senator, would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

  2. 2. Which role do you think you would have played in the passage of the bill as a Senator?

    • I would have advocated it and used whatever muscle I had to get it through committees and on the floor and voted on.
    • I would have opposed it via bottling it up in Senate procedure and fillibustering it once it was on the floor.
    • I like would have let others handle it or played a very low-key role one way or the other.
  3. 3. What kind of US Senator would you have been?

    • Southern Democrat opposed to the bill -- all but 1 Southern Dem Sen opposed it.
      0
    • Southern Democrat supportive of the bill -- only Sen. Yarborough of TX supported it.
    • Southern Republican opposed to the bill -- Sen. Tower of TX was the only Southern Republican.
      0
    • Non-Southern Democrats supportive of the bill -- all but one supported the bill.
    • Non-Southern Democrat opposed to the bill - Sen. Byrd of WV was the only Non-Southern Dem to oppose the bill.
    • Non-Southern Republican supportive of the bill -- 84% of them supported the bill.
    • Non-Southern Republican opposed to the bill -- 16% of them opposed it, including Sen. Goldwater of AZ
  4. 4. Would you have voted for/against the bill even if it meant that your political career would be 100% dead (as was the case with Sen. Yarborough--he knew it would kill it)?

  5. 5. What is your overall opinion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Pick that which is closest.

    • One of the greatest legislative acts in our history.
    • A seriously flawed bill that is crucially important, nonetheless.
    • A seriously overrated bill in design and in importance.
    • One of the worse legislative acts in our history.
      0


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In 1963, JFK proposed the Civil Rights Act and earned the support of both Sen. Maj. Leader Mansfield (D-MT) and Sen. Min. Leader Dirksen (R-IL). Most of the work to put it into action in Congress was conducted by Rep. Celler (D-NY). However, the chairman of the Rules Committee, Rep. Smith (D-VA), a Southern segregationist kept it bottled up in his committee and expected it to keep it there forever.

After, JFK's assassination, LBJ made it clear that he would push through the Civil Rights Act. Pres. Johnson and Sen. Maj. Mansfield bypassed the Judiciary Committee chaired by segregationist Sen. Eastland (D-MS) by waiving the requirement of a 2nd reading, a requirement that would have sent the bill to Eastland, who would have bottled it up. 

Ultimately, 18 Southern Democrats filibustered the bill for almost two months until a bipartisan group of Senators led by Sen. Humphrey (D-MN), and soon to be VP, weakened the House version of the bill. At this point, Humphrey claimed to have 67 votes.

It is June 19, 1964. You are a US Senator. This Civil Rights and Labor Law bill's primary purposes are to:

  • Outlaw discrimination in the public sphere
  • Outlaw discrimination in government and governmental services
  • Enforce the Constitutional Right to vote
  • Extend the commission on Civil Rights and create other organization aimed to decrease inequality. 
  • To empower the Attorney General to enforce all of this

Those opposed to the bill argued that the bill was, as Sen. Thurmond (D-SC) stated, "Unconstitutional, unnecessary, and unwise." Or, as Sen. Goldwater (R-AZ) stated, "You can't legislate morality." Other opponents believed it violated States Rights and individual liberties. 

Meanwhile, supporters believed, generally, that the act was the fulfillment and enforcement of Constitutional rights. 

If you were a US Senator, how would you vote?

 

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I'd have been a strong proponent of the bill. I'm not sure whether I'd be a Republican or Democrat during the time, but I lean that I would probably be a Republican during the 60s, due to opposition to Southern Democrats and being a New Yorker who would for the most part be a supporter of Rockefeller. I imagine my personal party switch would occur in the 70s.

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The states surrendered their rights to...well, rights...when they took up arms against us and lost.  Now they're going to do what we tell them to do, or else we'll go conquer them again.

I had a harder time deciding whether I'd be a Republican or Democrat in this time period -- as I'm not particularly sure what the difference was in the era, as both parties have changed since then.  But while I also like Eisenhower, World War II was won by FDR and Truman.  So I marked myself as a Democrat.
 

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I would be heartily in favor. I’d be a moderate republican at this time, likely one who leans slightly liberal.

Although enforcing morality may dampen certain freedoms (like the freedom to discriminate), it will provide greater freedom to society as a whole. Freedom of opportunity, freedom from unfair treatment, and freedom from repression. As the 13th amendment proved, the right of the states can and must be put into question when the states are infringing on the right of the individual. 

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Picked Southern Democrat who supported the bill because that's the region of the country I'm from.

I'd probably be a Republican, in actuality, though, but the hypothetical Southern Republican in favor doesn't exist.

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The parts that applied to the states (and their various ways of imposing segregation on the populous) where needed and acceptable.  The parts applied to businesses (mainly Titles II and VII) were a major overreach by the federal government and are detrimental to the concept of freedom of association.

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Civil liberties are always more important than civil rights, as civil liberties are given to you by God, and civil rights are given to you by the government.

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4 hours ago, Actinguy said:

The states surrendered their rights to...well, rights...when they took up arms against us and lost.  Now they're going to do what we tell them to do, or else we'll go conquer them again.

I had a harder time deciding whether I'd be a Republican or Democrat in this time period -- as I'm not particularly sure what the difference was in the era, as both parties have changed since then.  But while I also like Eisenhower, World War II was won by FDR and Truman.  So I marked myself as a Democrat.
 

Truth be told, WW2 was won by Hitler and Hideki's incompetence. Both had the world as their oyster before the mistimed and poorly done Barbarossa and Pearl Harbour, Nazi Germany was the ONLY military opponent ever faced by the British Empire and United States with a sharp technological edge over them in a frightening number of areas (first jet fighter, first jet bomber, first functional helicopter, first complex encryption computer, first significant yield and range SSM, first electric-, not diesel-power submarines, the biggest, most heavily-armoured monster of a tank literally until the release of the M1A1 Abrams 35 years later, blitzkrieg warfare, first use of mass industrial bombing, first motive use of paratroops, and a few other things) that could have also been a very real leader, perhaps even contender, for the atomic bomb with the notes left at the Institute of Physics in Berlin by Einstein and his colleagues before they fled had they not been throwing endless resources into the quagmire that was the Eastern Front with the Soviets. So let us thank God, or whatever good power and provenance you observe, that the utter and complete mismanagement, however inexplicable, of a frightening initial uppor hand spared any sympathetic and livable civilization in the world, that actually allowed those who led and the commanded the forces of the Allied Powers to have a chance to struggle and valiantly fight to victory.

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59 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Civil liberties are always more important than civil rights, as civil liberties are given to you by God, and civil rights are given to you by the government.

Too absolutist of a statement for me. I could understand a statement that is "usually are more important" or "generally are more important" or "almost always more important," but I disagree with the statement as it currently stands.

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1 hour ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Civil liberties are always more important than civil rights, as civil liberties are given to you by God, and civil rights are given to you by the government.

The concept of both were innovated by Enlightenment thinkers in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Christian (or any Abrahamic Monotheist Scriptures), unfortunately, make no mention or intimation of the notion at all, and, in fact, especially in Jewish and Muslim Scripture, but also to a notable degree in Christian Scripture by undertone, are antagonistic to many such rights as absolutes.

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59 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Too absolutist of a statement for me. I could understand a statement that is "usually are more important" or "generally are more important" or "almost always more important," but I disagree with the statement as it currently stands.

Then how about the statement, "I prefer having inalienable natural rights protected by the government rather than rights given to me by the government in a concession after they trampled them for decades"

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1 hour ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Then how about the statement, "I prefer having inalienable natural rights protected by the government rather than rights given to me by the government in a concession after they trampled them for decades"

Ok, that's better. 

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13 hours ago, Patine said:

Truth be told, WW2 was won by Hitler and Hideki's incompetence. Both had the world as their oyster before the mistimed and poorly done Barbarossa and Pearl Harbour, Nazi Germany was the ONLY military opponent ever faced by the British Empire and United States with a sharp technological edge over them in a frightening number of areas (first jet fighter, first jet bomber, first functional helicopter, first complex encryption computer, first significant yield and range SSM, first electric-, not diesel-power submarines, the biggest, most heavily-armoured monster of a tank literally until the release of the M1A1 Abrams 35 years later, blitzkrieg warfare, first use of mass industrial bombing, first motive use of paratroops, and a few other things) that could have also been a very real leader, perhaps even contender, for the atomic bomb with the notes left at the Institute of Physics in Berlin by Einstein and his colleagues before they fled had they not been throwing endless resources into the quagmire that was the Eastern Front with the Soviets. So let us thank God, or whatever good power and provenance you observe, that the utter and complete mismanagement, however inexplicable, of a frightening initial uppor hand spared any sympathetic and livable civilization in the world, that actually allowed those who led and the commanded the forces of the Allied Powers to have a chance to struggle and valiantly fight to victory.

They absolutely did not have 'the world as their oyster'. The allies always had a significant manpower and production advantage. Being the first to create something is not a huge advantage if the opposition can copy it and produce a lot more of it. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan made some utterly incompetent mistakes yes, but they also massively overachieved in WW2 as it is.

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2 hours ago, Mark_W said:

They absolutely did not have 'the world as their oyster'. The allies always had a significant manpower and production advantage. Being the first to create something is not a huge advantage if the opposition can copy it and produce a lot more of it. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan made some utterly incompetent mistakes yes, but they also massively overachieved in WW2 as it is.

Do you even have any idea the pitiful and unprepared state of the U.S. Army and Air Force as the date December 6, 1941. The U.S. Navy was actually their top military branch, one of the top 5 navies in the world at the time. But the U.S. Army was small in size, and still had cavalry units (not mechanized or air cavalry - I mean damned HORSES!), and, despite urgings and pressures of George Patton, who had been, as a Captain, the Commander of the American Tank Company in the American Expeditionary Force in WW1, using British and French made tanks like Mark IV's and FT-17's (Britain, France, and Germany were the only countries in the world who made tanks in WW1) and came to see tanks as the future of land warfare, the U.S. Congress was underemphasizing production or heavy reliance on tanks and other armoured vehicles, and not taking the idea of air power as quite the dominant asset it should have been, during the Interwar Period, and the great majority of Americans had no appetite or morale for war until right until it cane to their tropical island shores.. This flaw could have been much more easily exploited had the Axis moved a lot quicker on the issue. Britain was battered and on the ropes after the Blitz, and Seelowe would have been within the realm of possibility, but Hitler decided helping Mussolini in Greece and North Africa, and invading Yugoslavia, were a higher priority than going for the kill, for some reason, and thus Britain was given the chance to recover. Barbarossa could be ended in a matter of weeks, but was botched HORRIBLY, and, as the Game of Thrones mottos says so ominously, "Winter came!" (at least in past tense usage) and thus the great sleeping bear awakened, and angry, rather than be killed while it was still drowsy in it's cave. And then who would have been left after that? I don't think the you really appreciate the dire position of the Allies in 1940-1941, and the frightening, but, for some reason dropped-the-ball-on, advantages of the Axis in that period of the war. I'm not at all saying the Allied manpower, coordination, sense of purpose, bravery, ingenuity, and determination weren't a huge, huge factor - it's just highly overlooked that the darkest period of the war could have actually been bad enough that those noble qualities never became relevant, or enough, because of the Axis horribly misplaying having the killer opening hand.

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25 minutes ago, Patine said:

Do you even have any idea the pitiful and unprepared state of the U.S. Army and Air Force as the date December 6, 1941. The U.S. Navy was actually their top military branch, one of the top 5 navies in the world at the time. But the U.S. Army was small in size, and still had cavalry units (not mechanized or air cavalry - I mean damned HORSES!), and, despite urgings and pressures of George Patton, who had been, as a Captain, the Commander of the American Tank Company in the American Expeditionary Force in WW1, using British and French made tanks like Mark IV's and FT-17's (Britain, France, and Germany were the only countries in the world who made tanks in WW1) and came to see tanks as the future of land warfare, the U.S. Congress was underemphasizing production or heavy reliance on tanks and other armoured vehicles, and not taking the idea of air power as quite the dominant asset it should have been, and the great majority of Americans had no appetite or morale for war until right until it cane to their tropical island shores.. This flaw could have been much more easily exploited had the Axis moved a lot quicker on the issue. Britain was battered and on the ropes after the Blitz, and Seelowe would have been within the realm of possibility, but Hitler decided helping Mussolini in Greece and North Africa, and invading Yugoslavia, were a higher priority than going for the kill, for some reason, and thus Britain was given the chance to recover. Barbarossa could be ended in a matter of weeks, but was botched HORRIBLY, and, as the Game of Thrones mottos says so ominously, "Winter came!" (at least in past tense usage) and thus the great sleeping bear awakened, and angry, rather than be killed while it was still drowsy in it's cave. And then who would have been left after that? I don't think the you really appreciate the dire position of the Allies in 1940-1941, and the frightening, but, for some reason dropped-the-ball-on, advantages of the Axis in that period of the war. I'm not at all saying the Allied manpower, coordination, sense of purpose, bravery, ingenuity, and determination weren't a huge, huge factor - it's just highly overlooked that the darkest period of the war could have actually been bad enough that those noble qualities never became relevant, or enough, because of the Axis horribly misplaying having the killer opening hand.

I don't agree with any of the bolded.

I'll concede that Sealion was feasible, but I don't think it was ever likely to be a success - and certainly would have been challenging enough that you can't say Britain was on the ropes or that Nazi Germany had an overwhelming advantage. To successfully invade and transport the required troops to actually gain control of the British Isles would have been incredibly difficult, and I don't think Gemany's navy & airforce were strong enough in combination to match the British navy/airforce. I'm no military historian, but I don't think your view of that situation is accurate at all.

Barbarossa was similarly a huge logistical challenge for a country that had a signficant manpower and resource disadvantage. It didn't just fail because of 'winter' or bad strategy. And again, I'm no military historian, but I'm fairly sure Hitler didn't make any more strategic errors than Stalin did.

And I don't think sense of purpose, bravery, ingenuity or determination were exclusive to one side or the other. I don't think they were a huge factor. I think the massive empires, manpower, resource and production advantage made the allies overwhelming favourites to win WW2 throughout the war. Nazi Germany overachieved, but they were never close to completely winning the war (at least in terms of what victory looked like based on their warped world view).

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