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Shaping the Nation and the Presidency
1964 Civil Rights Act

1803
The Louisiana Purchase

1838-1839
The Trail of Tears

1850
The Fugitive Slave Law

1863
Gettysburg Address &
Emancipation Proclamation

1933
18th Amendment Repealed

1960
First Televised Presidential
Debate

1964
Civil Rights Act

1991
Persian Gulf

Make the connection between President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Civil Rights Act.

Lyndon B. Johnson
from American Presidents

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Lyndon B. Johnson made civil rights legislation a priority during his administration. It could be argued that his motivations were personal and moral rather than political. In fact, Johnson knew that his efforts, which ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would have damaging repercussions for the Democratic Party.

James Baldwin
from American Writers

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The force with which the Civil Rights Movement grew through the 1960s was a large factor in dictating the shape of coinciding presidential administrations. John F. Kennedy's administration was ambivalent in advancing civil rights; the president was more focused on foreign policy issues. However, by the time Johnson took office, the Movement was so strong, Johnson almost had no choice. While some accuse him of missteps that hurt the Movement, Johnson's efforts in the White House eventually led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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