A level history coursework Civil Rights 2018Watch this thread
To what extent was LBJ the most effective president in the treatment of African Americans in the period 1863-1969?
I have planned out some of my factors which I am going to explore like, the success of the legislation, motives behind the legislation, opinions of what African American leaders thought of the presidents, how the presidents delt with the resistance, and that's about it.
My argument is that Lyndon Bains Johnson was the most effective but I also have to compare him to other presidents like Lincoln, Eisenhower and Kennedy which I'm ok with as I have plenty of references.
The thing that I am stuck on is I can't think of any other factors to explore, and preferably I need 6 paragraphs rather than my 4 I have.
If anyone has any ideas I'd be so grateful! Thanks
Hi, I would consider a different structure. I agree with the fact that you are going to explore legislation and resistance but I personally wouldn't explore the motivations behind his legislation or how he was viewed by Afro-American presidents.If I were you I would go into more detail about legislation and look into 'economic' legislation e.g. access to financial resources and financial independence, 'social' legislation e.g. attemtps to end the social divide in America and 'political' legislation e.g. being able to stand in elections. This will give you four different factors to asses which is plenty. Also, be careful that you cover the whole hundred years instead of simply comparing LBJ to three other presidents otherwise you might be tempted to stray into a narrative rather than an analytical answer. I hope this helps. -Elise
Hey, thanks for the reply! I understand your points and I think they sound far better and more analytical than my original idea. Just to clarify, with 'political' legislation, would it just be the elections or anything else? that's the only factor im a bit confused about
The topic lends itself to a discussion of breadth, so it is important to consider many presidents as well as LBJ in your answer here. Lincoln and Kennedy are great ones, but consider Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, even Rutherford Hayes who ended reconstruction. Once you have covered breadth, then you can target depth, show off your analysis and knowledge of events, and then assess and rank them. Be sure to take the question all the way to 1969, and demonstrate some understanding of what happened later, even if you just touch on it, for a couple of sentences in your introduction or something. How did President Nixon deal with civil rights issues in 1969, for instance?
It's also important to narrow the definition of "effective treatment of African Americans." The question as it is phrased is very open ended.
One thing I would try to keep in mind too...there's the issue of how active a president was in dealing with the issues faced by African Americans. Were they active in shaping the issue and presenting it to Congress? Did they have success in convincing congress? Or were they passive? Did they get on well with Civil Rights leaders? Were they decisive? Did the policy benefit African Americans? Effectiveness could imply consistency. I
When looking at LBJ, there's a lot to consider: the increasing militarism and splintering of the Civil Rights Movement by 1965; the Vietnam war and limited appetite to deal with racial inequality; LBJ's relationship with MLK vs. Kennedy; doing the Civil Rights Act for a martyred JFK; his political opportunism; his political savvy and experience in the 1960s; successes early in his presidency vs. failures later. etc.
For instance, even though LBJ had significant success in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and indeed, shaped the debate as a liberal, Southern New-Deal Democrat, I'd actually argue that Kennedy had a better policy towards African Americans, because he worked with groups such as the SCLC better. As evidence of this, once Martin Luther King and the SCLC had turned its attention to dealing with defacto segregation in the north, and issues of economic inequality faced by African Americans, King was increasingly isolated by the Johnson administration. The failure of the Civil Rights Acts of 1966, 1967, furthered this view, while it could be suggested that the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was only passed as a tribute to MLK.
It's up to you, and it's great to plan, hoping this helps. there's plenty of sources on this, and this could be a really interesting piece of coursework. Good luck!