• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How much and why did President Truman help to promote racial equality?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐How much and why did President Truman help to promote racial equality? Harry S. Truman was President of America from 1945 to 1952. During his time in office, the state of race relations in America improved, and several advances were made in achieving equality for African-Americans. Politically, his support for civil rights showed before his presidency; he was noteworthy during his tenure as Senator of Missouri ( a border state that shared the racist and bigoted society of the Deep South) for his support of legislation to abolish the poll tax( and obstacle in the way of many blacks? constitutionally affirmed right to vote) and adopted an anti-lynching stance in the face of dozens of violent mob killings of African-Americans in the South- something that was seen as everyday life by its inhabitants. When he ascended to the presidency in April 1945, after the death of his superior, Roosevelt, he initially did nothing significant to aid the plight of blacks- perhaps due to the ongoing war in the Far East. However, by September 1946 he had established a liberal civil rights committee to investigate increasing violence against blacks. This landmark report, named To Secure These Rights, was the first of its kind in America, and advocated eliminating segregation in the Southern states, as well as recommending and end to discrimination in the armed forces and interstate travel. ...read more.

Middle

Frequently, the sensitivity of the race issue was broken and often spilled out to the public- one famous example would be when Truman?s wife refused a black woman( who just happened to be the wife of Harlem?s congressional representative, Adam Clayton Powell)to sing at an event. Powell described the First Lady as the ?last lady of the land? to which the infuriated Truman responded by privately calling him ?a smart aleck and a rabble rouser? as well as a ?damned nigger preacher?. Truman?s presidency was also fraught with failures to help black people- such as the defunding of the FEPC by Congress which he failed to prevent, and the CGCC that could only recommend, not enforce, against discrimination in the workforce. To conclude this point, it could be said that Truman?s policies did not do enough to promote racial equality, and that many other groups were involved in improving civil rights during his presidency that were not directly related to the federal government, such as CORE and NAACP. Truman?s motivation for his revolutionary view on civil rights may?ve simply stemmed from his urge to gain political power, therefore making it questionable if he truly believed in civil rights and revealing his cynicism. During the late 40s, it was clear that the importance of the black vote was becoming more and more prevalent. ...read more.

Conclusion

Truman was desperate to reinforce America?s role to the world as the self-proclaimed champion of freedom and democracy, in order to persuade countries to turn away from communism to capitalism. He knew such things would be hypocritical if only citizens of a particular ethnicity enjoyed full civil rights in America. In short, Truman did what he did through a sense of moral obligation and duty to protect African-Americans from racism and to preserve America?s reputation among the international community. In conclusion, Truman?s administration saw revolutionary advances in black civil rights and he played a crucial and decisive role to help solve discrimination through his power as President and spurned America as a whole to pursue racial equality- indeed, some historians would say that his administration was the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. Despite this, it was clear that many things that could?ve been done were not and millions of African- Americans still faced widespread de jure and de facto racism and bigotry by the end of his presidency in 1952. However, this could not be completely be attributed to Truman?s apathy and his ambivalence towards African-Americans in general, as many Americans (Republicans, Dixiecrats etc.) were strongly against such concepts as racial integration and the President, as a rule, cannot have too much power to solve these problems- it was up to all the states in the union and all Americans to realize discrimination against African-Americans and work against it, not just the federal government in Washington D.C. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the significance of the role of individuals in reducing racial discrimination in the ...

    5 star(s)

    The idea supported segregation, and blacks being supreme compared to white Americans, and again highlighted the ideas of African Americans starting their own nation. X's beliefs of gaining equality by 'any means necessary' contrasted with King's beliefs of non-violence which made King and X much like enemies during the 1960's.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of federal ...

    4 star(s)

    to the US political system, but also to the civil rights movement at this stage. Right at the end of the period, George Bush Sr. was hardly the greatest advocate of civil rights, and further conservatised the Supreme Court with his appointment of Clarence Thomas, a conservative, black, Republican lawyer.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Were the 1960s and 1970s a turning point for the equality of Native Americans?

    4 star(s)

    Previously, the Dawes Act seemed promising for Native Americans, it gave citizenship and protection, which seemed to be the first step in the right direction for them, however, and in 1898 the Curtis Act extended the Dawes Act, and dissolved all tribal governments and gave authority over to federal governments

  2. How far had racial equality been achieved in the USA by 1968?

    Finally, even though black income had risen in the 1960s, the average black family still only earned 61% of the average white family. For this reason, racial equality was only partially achieved in social and economic terms because black people were still disadvantaged in terms of employment, education and income.

  1. Assess the importance of the President in the expansion of the USA from 1815-1917

    took advantage of a bitter division among tribal leaders?[4]. This shows that Jackson may have only agreed to the removal of the Cherokees because of the valuable resources that they were sitting on. However, this only contributed to the removal of one tribe, and can be seen as only a

  2. Why was progress towards racial equality so slow in the period 1945 - 1955?

    This decision upset both sides of the civil rights movement. The NAACP believed that this case was too vague and therefore wasn?t a strong enough decision to force any change. We find out this is in-fact true as by 1957, only 750 out of 6,300 schools had been desegregated.

  1. Research on the major Civil rights events between 1963 to 1968

    The following year, President Lyndon Baines Johnson attempted to persuade Congress to pass his Voting Rights Act. This proposed legislation removed the right of states to impose restrictions on who could vote in elections. Johnson explained how: "Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.

  2. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    Little Rock (1957: 9 students, NAACP, President Eisenhower) Overview In Little Rock, Arkansas a formerly all-white Central High School learns that integration is easier said than done. Nine black students are blocked from entering the school on the orders of Governor Orval Faubus.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work