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Lecture 1

HIST 351 Lecture 1: 1-10-2017 Around World War II

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HIST 351
Leonard Moore

Civil Rights Around World War II-1/10/2017 Early Foundations Post Civil War -After Civil War and the end of slavery, Reconstruction conferred immense power to the federal government -Lincoln himself evolved on the race issue and came around to ending slavery entirely and changing the very idea of citizenship -New constitutional amendments meant to codify at least some equality -Abolitionist Radical Republicans were behind these th -13 banned slavery as a legal institution th -As resistance grew to Black citizenship, the 14 amendment was passed and forced Southern states to sign for readmission -One of the most important amendments in defining citizenship -All persons born in the US or naturalized were citizens entitled to rights -Intended for free slaves but built a precedent of equal treatment -15 protected right to vote against race/color/servitude -Reforms paved the way for growing Black power until the 1890s when Southern Redeemers took away rights from Blacks -States pass laws and rewrite their constitutions to get around these amendments -Literacy tests, poll taxes, which were all upheld -Discrimination in accommodation beganJim Crow Laws -Upheld in Plessy v Ferguson Natives -Natives were conquested in the Plains and SW -Forced onto reservations -Reformed through things like the Dawes Act and Boarding Schools -Idea of forcing assimilation th -Natives left out of the 14 amendment and thus excluded from citizenship until 1924 Asian Immigrants -Clashed with European immigrants -First exclusion act in 1882 and renewed for decades to come -Based on racist basis similar to that pushed on African Americans -Coincided with a professionalization/scientific racism Southern Europeans -Also faced discrimination through things like eugenics -Seen as inferior -Led to the passage of the National Origins Act of 1924, which basically ended immigration from anywhere in Asia -Almost excluded all Southern and Eastern European immigrants Mexicans -Mexicans were given full rights for deeds and stuff if they were forced into the US -However this went away in the early late 19 and early 20 century -Led to a subjugation of Mexicans -Discrimination and segregation followed -In the 1940s there was an expansion of Mexican immigration -Mexican Americans found themselves in legal limbo because their experience and treatment paralleled that of their Hispanic brethren despite their American roots -Tension within Mexican American communities Rights in General -Late 1800s and early 1900s were a bad time for rights in general -Women, however, got the right to vote -Women’s movement played on the undercurrents of other traditions -Used racial tensions as leverage to get the right to vote Other Pre-During WWII Division in the Democratic Party -Two separate wings but not much in common between them -Northern working class Democrats -In the South, the party of segregation and white supremacy -In 1924 they were divided and destroyed themselves in the nominating convention due to KKK condemnation -Huge divisions, but then in 1928 they nominated Al Smith, the first Catholic candidate -Caused many Southerners to vote for Herbert Hoover in 1928 -GOP politicians knew this could destroy the Democrats -In 1932, FDR knew about this and profited from the consensus for government reform during the Depression -Federal power expanded bigtime, between jobs, subsidies, labor recognition, Wall Street regulation, etc -Created a new relationship between the people and the government -A new vision of citizenship where the government assumed more responsibility than ever for the welfare of the people -Began the post-war changes in civil rights, ever gradually -Reverses the anti-Southern and Eastern European forces at work and brings them into the New Deal Coalition -Immigrant women especially began large registration efforts -The working class Democrats were among the coalition’s biggest supporters -Overtures existed to Blacks, but as Roosevelt reached out to Black voters they began to vote more Democratic -FDR needed White Southern support for his policies, so he allowed discrimination to be built into many programs, including Social Security which discriminated against farmworkers and domestic workers Gradual Racial Changes -In the 1930s, when a Black singer’s Constitutional Hall invitation was rescinded and protests erupted, fueled in part by Ickes and Eleanor Roosevelt along with Marian Anderson Relationship of the Federal Government and People -Renewed social contract and boosted American unity -FDR led the country through WWII -A new sort of citizenship and a move away from an era of wide scale discrimination World War II -FDR early on believes the US will inevitably enter the war -He starts preparation efforts despite running in 1940 against a powerful right wing America First movement (THE OLD ALT RIGHT) -Didn’t successfully challenge FDR but were highly in the public opinion -War preparations became a focal point for civil rights XO 8802 and the First Blows to Jim Crow -WEB DuBois and A. Phillip Randolph worked together to schedule a prewar meeting with FDR -War production had begun -Wanted the US military to be integrated and a guarantee of no discrimination for US war plansBlacks getting whatever job they were qualified for, not just low wage posts -If FDR didn’t comply, Randolph promised a HUGE march on Washington -This would have dealt an incredible blow to national unity and war prep -FDR thus negotiated a deal to not integrate the military but to ban discrimination in war production plants (XO 8802) -Key step forward for civil rights, as Blacks began to experience upward mobility during the war -Didn’t always work in the South though, but in Northern states and on the West coast it was remarkably effective -Until now all 3 branches of government accepted Jim Crow and did nothing to abandon Jim Crow -This was a small but symbolic step forward -March called off Steps in the Other Direction -Racial tensions soared in the US causing race riots in the US in places like Detroit -Japanese Americans were imprisoned and their property was seized -Moved to concentration camps in places like Utah and Montana -Roose
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