Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Father of American Liberalism

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Eisenhower Library: President Eisenhower's- Civil Rights Legacy

Source: Eisenhower Presidential Library-
Source: Eisenhower Library: President Eisenhower's- Civil Rights Legacy

If I had to guess I would say that civil rights was not on the top of Dwight Eisenhower's legacy when he became President of the United States in 1953. And not something where he was going to push civil rights through a Republican Congress that he had in his first two years. And the leader of a party in the Republican Party where civil rights laws probably had more support for than in the Democratic Party. That for the most part except for Lyndon Johnson and a few others (at the time of the Democratic Leader in the Senate) was against civil rights laws period.

Perhaps the only interest that President Eisenhower had in civil rights had to do with enforcing the newly open military. That included all races and the different races serving together in the U.S. military. That President Truman put through through executive order because he had a Democratic Congress that wouldn't have supported it. Not saying that President Eisenhower was a against civil and equal rights even before he became President. but that he had other priorities that he believed were more important like the Korean War and the start of the Cold War with Russia.

Civil rights is something that more came to President Eisenhower desk's rather than he putting it on his desk instead. When the Topeka and Brown V. Board of Education rulings came to him and he had to decide whether he was going to enforce these decisions or not, Dwight Eisenhower was definitely not a racist, but a Southerner who did has respect for the Southern States states rights plank, but decided that the nation as a whole was more important. And that as President of the United States, it was his job to enforce all Federal laws even laws that his part of the country disagreed with which is how he backed the Arkansas education case, to use as an example. That allowed for African-Americans to go to school there and not be forced to go to run down schools where only African- Americans attended because they lived in poverty stricken neighborhoods.

Civil rights is a perfect example of Dwight Eisenhower's judicial and governmental conservatism. That laws have to be enforced and you can't pick and choose which laws are enforced whether you agree with them or not. Thats its the job of the Executive to enforce laws and if you don't like those laws. You can always work to repeal then instead of cherry pick which laws you like. And he reminds me a little of Chief Justice John Roberts in that respect.