Chapter

Classical Liberals in the Civil Rights Era

Jonathan Bean

in Race and Liberty in America

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125459
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135205 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125459.003.0007
Classical Liberals in the Civil Rights Era

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During the civil rights era, federal courts ruled various forms of segregation unconstitutional, thus infuriating southern conservatives. A Republican Senate refused to seat a notorious racist, and subsequent congresses passed Civil Rights Acts protecting voting rights and overturning segregation. President Dwight D. Eisenhower played a great role in the desegregation of Washington, DC (1953), and the Brown v. Board decision (1954). President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a bill passed by a bipartisan congressional coalition, over the opposition of southern Democrats. Classical liberals believed state-sponsored discrimination was a problem. Federal laws that struck down such discrimination were not only constitutional but appropriate for achieving individual freedom from state interference. White supremacy by government fiat violated classical liberal principles. On the other hand, classical liberals opposed laws that limited an individual's freedom of association or that required him to prefer one race over another.

Keywords: classical liberals; conservatives; Civil Rights; Eisenhower; Brown v. Board; desegregation; discrimination; individual freedom

Chapter.  15835 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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