President Dwight David Eisenhower contribution to civil right movement is significant in American history. President Eisenhower was a key figure in dealing with the effects of the Cold War in the 1950s. It was during this time that issues of civil rights became critical. However, fears of communism ideologies were associated with the civil right movement. In this regard, President Eisenhower is attributed to not addressing civil rights during his tenure.
In fact, historians associate Eisenhower with violation of human liberties and suppression of civil right movement. However, Eisenhower’s strategy to preserve individual freedom using modern republicanism was relatively effective. In this regard, Eisenhower introduced legislation that oversaw the expansion of social security (Aistrup, 107). Eisenhower intent was to ensure that the government was accountable to citizens’ civil rights and liberties.
However, President Eisenhower did not address racial discrimination during his tenure. For example, Eisenhower kept silent on matters that encouraged racial discrimination. For example, Eisenhower did not address racial segregation in schools. Nonetheless, Eisenhower used his office to encourage the civil right movement.
For example, he signed the first civil rights legislation that protected voting rights. Eisenhower was instrumental in dismantling racial segregation in federal facilities. Irrespective of his achievements, Eisenhower’s influence on civil right movement was ineffective.
On the other hand, President John Kennedy assumption to office reignited Civil Right Movement. Apparently, President Kennedy was elected for supporting equal rights in the United States (Miller and Shanks 139). Africa Americans in the United States intensified the quest for equal rights during President Kennedy tenure. Initially, President Kennedy was reluctant to support the right civil issues like integration. However, President Kennedy was instrumental in protecting black protestors in Alabama.
In fact, Kennedy ensured the protection of the protestors through the federal marshals. Kennedy’s efforts in ensuring that African Americans were admitted to the universities were effective. Between 1962 and 1963, President Kennedy ensured that African America students got admitted to public universities.
In addition, the president introduced a civil rights bill to the congress that sought equal rights for all Americans. President Kennedy’s passion in the civil right movement resulted in his assassination in 1963 before the bill was introduced to congress. However, the bill was later presented by his successor and signed into law.
President Lyndon Johnson ascendancy to power in 1963 caused jitters among African Americans. However, Lyndon utilized Kennedy’s bill of civil rights to build his political career. In this regard, President Lyndon continued to support the civil right movement, especially in ending segregation. In fact, historians acknowledge Johnson’s efforts in pushing for civil rights legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was President Johnson’s greatest achievement (Loevy 49).
The president introduced other major civil right bills that gave African Americans a right to vote. During President Johnson’s tenure, the situation in the United States changed since many of the African Americans got involved in political matters. In addition to civil rights, enormous gains were made in achieving other individual liberties. In this regard, the civil right movement shifted its focus to end gender and sexual discrimination, poverty, and health problems.
In conclusion, America’s civil right movement involved a great deal of effort from the presidents. However, President Kennedy’s efforts in the civil right movement were significant. The passion and sacrifice of President Kennedy gave the civil right movement a new direction and purpose.
Aistrup, A. Joseph. The southern strategy revisited: Republican top-down advancement in the South, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996. Print.
Loevy, D. Robert. The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The passage of the law that ended racial segregation, New York: SUNY Press, 1997. Print.
Miller, E. Warren, and Shanks, J. Merrill. The new American voter, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. Print.