Discrimination in relation to the race question was not ceased with the end of the Civil War in the United States. As a result, the period of the 1950s-1960s is characterized by the active civil rights movement.
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In this context, the figure of President Dwight D. Eisenhower can be discussed as influential in coping with segregation issues and protecting the African Americans’ civil rights because he demonstrated the significant political courage in enforcing the Civil Rights laws in 1957 and 1960 in order to regulate the voting procedures and provide the discriminated African Americans with the civil freedoms and opportunities.
Thus, the Civil Rights laws of 1957 and 1960 affected the nation positively because the principles of the free civil society were stated legally for all the categories of the population without references to racial differences.
The 1950s in the history of the United States are characterized as the period of segregating the whites and blacks regarding their civil rights and principle of equality. The idea of social and civil inequality of the African Americans was actively supported in the Southern states of the USA, thus, the black people had no opportunities to receive the education or job position equal to the white people’s ones, and the right to vote was also limited (Dudziak 59-62; Finley 111-120).
The focus of the Southern states’ governments on the segregation principles led to the significant tensions between the federal government and states’ governments because of the necessities to overcome the observed racial discrimination.
Signing the Civil Rights Act in 1957, President Eisenhower demonstrated his political courage and readiness to oppose the Southern states’ forces which could share different visions of the issue because the law determined equal voting rights and protections for the white Americans and African Americans. The Little Rock Crisis of September, 1957, was the clear illustration for the discussed problem.
The authorities of Arkansas rejected enrollment of the African American students in the school of Little Rock. As a result, the confrontation was discussed at the federal level, and President Eisenhower sent the troops to protect the rights of the African American students in Arkansas (Jacoway and Williams 11). Such decision demonstrated not only the clear position of President Eisenhower in relation to the nation’s civil rights but also his courage as the political leader.
The Civil Rights Act in 1957 was important for the further development of the American society because it was the first time when the federal legislation was enacted regarding the question of civil rights after the decades of silence in relation to the observed problem.
In 1957, the Republicans should also demonstrate their political courage in order to support the Act singed by President Eisenhower because the Democrats were against the Act, and the Democrats presented the whole 19% as opposite to 76% of representatives voting for the Act (“HR. 6127. Civil Rights Act of 1957”).
The situation changed in 1960 when 74% of politicians voting for the next Civil Rights Act included 179 representatives of the Democrats and 132 representatives of the Republicans (“HR 8601. Passage”). These numbers support the idea that the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was developed more effectively in comparison with the Act of 1957, and it covered more legal issues associated with the discriminatory practices which worked to promote segregation earlier.
Thus, the procedure of voting in relation to the equality of civil rights for all the categories of the population was improved, and discriminatory practices were limited with the focus on stated penalties. It is important to note that President Eisenhower demonstrated his consistency in relation to promoting the equal civil rights and overcoming prejudicial procedures and practices typical for the segregated society in the United States during the 1950s-1960s.
In spite of the fact that the Civil Rights acts of 1957 and 1960 were later discussed by politicians and researchers as not effective enough to overcome discrimination in the American society and provide the African Americans with the equal civil rights to participate in the voting procedure because the other aspects of discrimination were not covered with the acts, the initiative of President Eisenhower to sign the acts was the important step toward creating the equal society.
From this point, the Civil Rights acts of 1957 and 1960 are the drafts for developing the effective civil rights legislation, and President Eisenhower needed to demonstrate his political courage in order to oppose the visions of the majority (Ambrose 98-112).
As a result, the actions of the President contributed to the improvement of the civil rights legislation and linked the public’s intentions to cope with discriminatory practices with the real legal actions in the field. That is why, President Eisenhower helped the nation to see the situation from the other perspective, with the focus on the legal possibilities to overcome discrimination.
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Thus, the Civil Rights laws of 1957 and 1960 can be discussed as the effective start for developing the appropriate civil rights legislation in the American society. Moreover, to enact the laws, President Eisenhower focused on his leadership abilities and qualities of a citizen to demonstrate the right way in overcoming discrimination.
Ambrose, Stephen. Eisenhower: Soldier and President. USA: Premier Digital Publishing, 2013. Print.
Dudziak, Mary. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. USA: Princeton University Press, 2011. Print.
Finley, Keith. Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight against Civil Rights, 1938–1965. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2008. Print.
HR. 6127. Civil Rights Act of 1957. Passed. n.d. Web. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/85-1957/s75>.
HR 8601. Passage. n.d. Web. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/86-1960/h102>.
Jacoway, Elizabeth, and Fred Williams. Understanding the Little Rock Crisis: An Exercise in Remembrance and Reconciliation. USA: University of Arkansas Press, 1999. Print.