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Actions Speak Louder Than Words - Nixon's Effect on School Desegregation
Paul Lucas History Conference (2011)
  • Demetri L. Morgan, University of Pennsylvania

A review of Preisdent Richard Nixon’s deeds rather than his rhetoric or policy stances, illuminates a previously under investigated reality that Nixon’s education civil rights record has been the most progressive and beneficial for the education of students of color to date. How can this be? As this presentation will outline, Nixon’s rhetoric and stances on education were symbolic measures to appease both the ‘silent majority’ and conservative southern democrats, which Nixon identified as vital to his election aspirations in the 1968 presidential campaign. This political ploy eventually collided with Nixon’s efforts to acquiesce to his campaign mantra and governing philosophy of ‘law and order.’ To properly abide by the espoused tenants of ‘law and order’ Nixon had to craft a scheme where he could simultaneously carry out the recent rulings of the Supreme and lower courts while staying in good enough favor with the voters he courted during the 1968 election. This dual scheme, while arguably morally problematic, was politically brilliant and effective in achieving the scheme’s ends. An indication of the scheme’s success was demonstrated in the 1972 presidential election when Nixon maintained the support of the ‘silent majority’ demonstrated by his landslide victory over George McGovern. The totality of Nixon’s actions and rhetoric continued the trend of conservative southern democrats voting for Republicans and as this presentation will show, made major progressions in the schooling of minority students.

  • history,
  • education,
  • Richard Nixon,
  • desegregation
Publication Date
March, 2011
Citation Information
Demetri L. Morgan. "Actions Speak Louder Than Words - Nixon's Effect on School Desegregation" Paul Lucas History Conference (2011)
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