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How Far Were The Federal Government And The Supreme Court Responsible For The Changing Status Of African Americans In The Years 1945 1968?

2257 words - 10 pages

The Federal Government in the United States is divided into three branches, Legislative; Congress, Executive; President and Judicial; The Supreme Court. The Supreme Court therefore forms part of the Federal Government. The Federal Government played a significant part to change the status of African Americans from 1945 to 1968 in the sense that the Presidents during this period; Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson all started to become more involved in improving Civil Rights for Black Americans and passing acts. Eisenhower passed the Civil rights Act of 1957, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and there were others which showed African Americans that progress was being made. The ...view middle of the document...

Truman’s words were backed up by action and in this case, de jure did become de facto as Truman made sure that there was no segregation in the armed forces which again shows how he was successful in some aspects. Although, Truman was not completely responsible for changing the status of African Americans due to the fact that social equality was slowed down when he failed to provide funds for the FEPC (Fair Employment Practices Committee) which also lacked support from the senior civil servants. In addition, Congress which was dominated by the opposition party, Republicans refused to pass meaningful civil rights legislation which slowed down the progress of equality and created a barrier meaning that the Federal Governments part in changing the status of African Americans decreased. The sudden change crated an impact on white racists which then also slowed down progress on civil rights. Here, Truman was unlucky that he was President at this time when racism was high.
The following President, Dwight E. Eisenhower (1953-1961) believed that it was not the government’s job to improve conditions for black people. He believed that their conditions would improve over time without government intervention. This showed that during this period there was a lack of support from the President as he was reluctant to get involved with any Civil Rights activities such as the Little Rock Campaign and he rejected the re-establishment of the wartime FEPC. Although, Eisenhower did play a small part in the Little Rock Campaign in which he ordered the Governor Arkansas to withdraw the National Guard from the school and allow the African Americans students to enter the school. During the Brown and the Supreme Court Case, Eisenhower accidentally helped the Blacks by appointing a liberal Southern Republican to the Supreme Court. The Judge, Earl Warren, went completely against segregation in white schools supporting the Blacks. After the case, Eisenhower refused to use federal power to enforce the Brown decision and kept silent about and then refused to condemn the pro-segregation Southern Manifesto, saying that change would have to be gradual. Even though segregation in schools was declared unconstitutional, desegregation took was long and slow as after the case only 6.4 percent of Blacks went to white schools in the South. The case was seen as ineffective and with lack of support which showed the Black Civil rights groups that once again they didn’t have the support from the President which greatly slowed down their progress as without the Presidents support there would be no significant progress. Although, it can be said that it was a “first breach in the damn” which then later on ensured further progress but this was not immediate progress and it showed that the Federal Government was not completely responsible for changing the social status for African Americans. Eisenhower was also unsuccessful when creating the two Civil Rights Acts. The first Act in 1957 focused...

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