The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Passage of the Law That Ended Racial Segregation

By Hubert H. Humphrey; Joseph L. Rauh Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
The Senate and Civil Rights

John G. Stewart

In 1968, four years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted into law, John G. Stewart earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Chicago. His doctoral dissertation was entitled "Independence and Control: The Challenge of Senatorial Party Leadership." The major portion of the dissertation addressed the question of how political party leaders in the U.S. Senate maintain "control" over a body composed of highly "independent" individual senators.

The concluding chapters of Stewart's dissertation addressed the question of how the party leadership in the U.S. Senate dealt with the herculean task of maintaining political party control during the southern Democratic filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In this lengthy description and analysis, Stewart focused his attention on Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (Dem., MT) and Senate Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey (Dem., MN) and their efforts to win the support of Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (Rep., IL) for a cloture vote on the southern filibuster.

This particular first-person account, written after some time had gone by for further research and reflection, emphasizes the way Mansfield and Humphrey were able to work within the established rules of the Senate to move forward a highly controversial and divisive piece of legislation. It is a true "insider" view of the detailed strategic and tactical thinking that goes into moving a major piece of legislation through the U.S. Senate.

Stewart's account of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been divided into five sections that will constitute the next five chapters of this book. In the first section, Stewart discusses

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