An interesting bit of history - 1964 and the Civil Rights Bill

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From the website of the United States Senate:

Civil Rights Act of 1964 - The Senate and Civil Rights: Debate and Filibuster
When the House of Representatives’ civil rights bill, H.R. 7152, became the Senate’s pending business on March 26, 1964, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia pledged that he and his colleagues in the southern bloc would fight the bill to the bitter end. “Despite overwhelming odds,” he proclaimed, “those of us who are opposed to the bill are neither frightened nor dismayed.” The bill’s opponents, Russell declared, would wage a “good fight for constitutional government.”

Anticipating a lengthy filibuster in the Senate, the bill’s proponents honed their strategy. President Johnson urged Majority Leader Mike Mansfield to break the filibuster by holding the Senate in round-the-clock sessions to exhaust the bill’s opponents. Johnson, as Senate majority leader, had successfully employed this tactic in 1960 to pass a civil rights bill.

Mansfield respected the president’s counsel, but he refused to follow his advice. He believed that, in addition to exhausting the Senate’s older members, 24-hour sessions would make a spectacle of the institution. The Senate, he explained to journalists, is not “a circus or a sideshow.” The image of members shuffling to the Senate floor in “bedroom slippers, without neckties, with hair uncombed and pajama tops sticking out” to respond to quorum calls or take roll-call votes was unbecoming to the Senate. Mansfield was determined to uphold the “dignity and decorum” of the institution, “as long as I happen to be leader.”

The upshot - from another page at the same site:

That protracted filibuster, along with the broader debate over the bill, continued through 60 days of debate, until cloture was invoked on June 10, 1964. This marked the first time in its history that the Senate invoked cloture on a civil rights bill. The Senate passed the bill on June 19, 1964, by a vote of 73 to 27.

Sixty days of debate - this is the longest delay of this kind in US history. Nowhere in the record is listed the party affiliation of the dramatis personæ. To make things easy for you, those in favor? Mostly from the Republican Party. Those opposed? Mostly from the Democrat party. The final vote - after many people had changed sides (been bribed with pork), there were six Republicans voting against along with 21 Democrats. These people voted against equal rights for all citizens. The Southern Bloc? Democrat. Senator Byrd - the leading voice against civil rights? Democrat and major member of the KKK. The final tally was 73 for to 27 opposed. They needed a 2/3rds margin so this was a very close thing.

What makes things really interesting is that nowhere in this Senate Website are the party affiliations mentioned. There is no complete roster of the Southern Bloc although there is one photograph showing more than 20 people seated at a table. Not an out-and-out purge down the memory hole, more like a little tidying up. Getting rid of the inconvenient truths...

Is the history of the Democrat Party making some modern-day progressives uncomfortable? Good. They own this.

Also, President Lyndon Baines Johnson was no choir-boy - here is one quote regarding his formation of The Great Society - the program of welfare and government handouts:

These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again.

And after his bills were passed and signed into law? This quote:

I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years

Johnson was also a Democrat but he was a political realist and understood that the Civil Rights Bill had to be passed or there would be hell to pay for everyone.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 26, 2020 6:22 PM.

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