Individualists in an Age of Group Discrimination

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:
Individualists in an Age of Group Discrimination

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Classical liberals faced a dilemma with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where several provisions struck down state-sponsored discrimination in the South. However, two sections mandated non-discrimination in the private sector, forbidding discrimination in hiring or “public accommodations.” To emphasize the colorblindness of the law, sponsors added section 706. The Congress then mandated non-discrimination and opposed preferential treatment for any group. The move toward “group rights” began under Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson, but solidified under Republican Richard M. Nixon. Nixon's grip for racial preferences provoked debates over the meaning of equality, racial freedom, and group definition. The Democratic Party initially resisted Nixon's departure from color-blind law but soon saw the political benefits of the president's preferences. Classical liberals also offered positive alternatives to racial discrimination including school choice and welfare reform.

Keywords: classical liberals; Civil Rights; colorblindness; group rights; Lyndon B. Johnson; Richard M. Nixon; racial freedom; racial discrimination; welfare reform

Chapter.  28046 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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