“To what extent was the Federal Government responsible for improving the status of black people in the USA in the years 1945 - 1964?” Most People would presume that the Federal Government of the USA would have done the most for Civil Rights, as they are in charge and run all of the States in America. However this is wrong as most of the Presidents did not pass Civil Rights Acts straight away, in fact it took them at least a year into the Presidency to even attempt to pass an act through Congress. This was due to the fact that Congress could simply prevent the President from being able to pass an Act or Law, as Congress has to vote on whether to pass or decline the Act or Law. I believe that the Federal Government, especially the President and the Supreme Court were influenced – and most definitely pressured – into improving the Rights of Black Americans. As the Campaigns/Demonstrations as well as the Civil Right leaders such as: Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were responsible for influencing the Federal Government to do something to improve the lives of Black Americans. The President would have felt a lot of pressure to do something as in the South, Whites and Blacks were at each other’s throats and had been since the end of the American Civil War. The President would have most definitely have felt obliged to do something about the matter. As he didn’t want to be seen in a bad light internationally, but by helping the Black Community of America the President would have been very unpopular in the South. This brings me onto my first point the President of the USA.
The US president is the man who runs the USA. Since the end of WW2 US Presidents have tried to improve the lives of Black Americans. The first one being Harry S Trumann, the biggest thing he did for Civil Rights was creating Executive Order 9981. As it was an Executive Order, this meant that it could bypass Congress, meaning it was put into action straight away without Congress deciding on it. This saw an end to segregation in the Armed Forces, this meant that Blacks were no longer segregated in the Military; they could do what they want. They were allowed to go join the infantry or as officers. But of course this wouldn’t have seen the complete eradication of racism from the armed forces. But Executive Order 9981 did have a big effect in a good way, as Blacks were no longer able to be mistreated; they were as equal in the military. Truman who as a youngster was a racist; he was even a member of the KKK, but he was the first President of America to publically address the issue of Civil Rights. But what you have to ask yourself is did they really care about Civil Rights or did they do it to make themselves and America to look good nationally and internationally, especially seeing that they had just fought a war, against a fascist enemy. Soon the Cold war would begin, which would see America a Capitalist country politically at war with the Communist Soviet Union – whose way of life was seen as evil and hated by the USA. The next President, who was Dwight D Eisenhower, who was famous for being the allied General in WW2, who during in his time in office passed two acts. These acts included the Civil Rights Act of 1957 – Voting Rights, this act stated that Blacks were allowed to vote and anyone who prevents Blacks from voting will be punished by a $1000 fine or 6 months in jail. But this was seen as a small punishment, so I didn’t really put people off. Then in 1960 Eisenhower managed to pass another Civil Rights Act, this led to local authorities having to record the votes of Blacks and making them count. However these Acts only saw a 3% rise in Black Voters, which is not much at all, Eisenhower tried but his Acts did not make a big difference. John F Kennedy who was a Democrat took Civil Rights to the next level, he made it clear in his speeches that he supported Civil Rights, he promised a Civil Rights Act to end...
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