Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Robert W. Kaufman

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Renstrom

Third Advisor

Dr. Chester Rogers

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Lyndon Johnson's decision to place the power of the presidency behind a drive for civil rights of African Americans initiated momentum which by 1994 resulted in a substantial party realignment in the South. First, history; Johnson's personal experience as a Southerner; his knowledge of the political system; his political power, and his political judgement were important elements in making this decision. Secondly, Johnson's considerations in striving for civil rights legislation included: (a) consideration of political difficulties and strategies in framing and in passage of the legislation, (b) his break with Southern Democratic colleagues on civil rights, (c) the pressures which might ensue from Northern liberals if he did not support the civil rights legislation, and (d) support he would lose in the Congress on other legislation if he pressed hard for civil rights legislation. Third, while concerned about re-election and electoral support in the South, Johnson ignored the possibility of party realignment in the South.