Cover image for American civil rights policy from Truman to Clinton : the role of presidential leadership
American civil rights policy from Truman to Clinton : the role of presidential leadership
Shull, Steven A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 294 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Rev. and expanded ed of: A kinder, gentler racism? c1993.
Pt. 1. The nature of civil rights: presidential influence and policy change. Introduction ; Civil rights in American history -- Pt. 2. Presidential policy statements and actions. Going public through policy statements ; Presidents' legislative and budget actions ; Presidents' administrative and judicial actions -- Pt. 3. Reactions to presidential statements and actions. Responses by Congress and agencies ; Responses by courts and nongovernmental actors -- Pt. 4 Evaluating presidential influence. The impact of presidential policies ; Conclusion.
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.615 .S497 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The President is the key actor in civil rights policy--its advance, reversal, or neglect. This book documents the critical role presidents have played in setting the agenda, framing the terms of the debate, and formulating specific policy goals with respect to civil rights. By identifying the limits of presidential influence as well as the impact of presidential leadership vis-a-vis the Congress and federal agencies, Shull is able to compare presidents in terms of rhetoric, performance, and effectiveness in this most controversial policy arena.
Expanding upon his work in A Kinder, Gentler Racism? Shull here incorporates the Clinton years, including case studies of the 1996 same-sex marriage controversy and the nominations of Lani Guinier and William Lee for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This volume demonstrates the close correlation between a president's political party affiliation and expanding and/or contracting civil rights interpretations and enforcement by federal agencies. Shull's thesis is that presidential influence shapes the course of civil rights policies and that every president is a major catalyst for civil rights policy innovations. Defining civil rights as bestowed by the government, unlike civil liberties, which have constitutional protections, Shull (Univ. of New Orleans) skillfully utilizes six legislative and executive civil rights cases to reinforce his assertions. While Reagan cut back on federal civil rights protections and Bush extended his retrenchment policies, Clinton reversed this trend. Shull also contrasts the strong record of Lyndon Johnson to the conservative reactions of Nixon and Ford. Since World War II, civil rights issues have been particularly salient for US presidents, partly because of African Americans' heightened quest for racial equality. Especially helpful to students at al levels are tables of civil rights policies on race from 1954 to 1998. Also offered are a comparative perspective on president's public communications on civil rights and the dimensions of attention, support, and symbolism. Finally, despite some limitations, Shull suggests that civil rights provides a basis for examining whether presidents matter and how much policy change occurs. A major contribution to a controversial subject. C. G. Hess; Lander University

Table of Contents

I The Nature of Civil Rights: Presidential Influence and Policy Change
1 Introduction
2 Civil Rights in American History
II Presidential Policy Statements and Actions
3 Going Public Through Policy Statements
4 Presidents' Legislative and Budget Actions
5 Presidents' Administrative and Judicial Actions
III Reactions to Presidential Statements and Actions
6 Responses by Congress and Agencies
7 Responses by Courts and Nongovernmental Actors
IV Evaluating Presidential Influence
8 The Impact of Presidential Policies
9 Conclusion