Dwight Eisenhower’s Institutional Change Strategies of the Civil Rights Era: A Model for Opposition Leadership

Date

2024

Authors

Kothari, Krish

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

Combining theories of political time and the isolated presidency, this thesis shows that when Presidents face a constrained environment, they rely on the powers explicitly granted to them by Article II of the Constitution. I map Dwight Eisenhower’s actions during the Civil Rights Era within four modalities of change to provide a model for how opposition presidents can influence a policy agenda on a controversial subject. I show how Eisenhower used his constitutional powers to set in motion four change strategies—displacement, conversion, layering, and drift—that furthered his “middle-way conservatism” and advanced the civil rights movement. I conclude by showing that preemptive presidents, even under difficult conditions, can use these methods to enact lasting change.

Description

Keywords

Political Science, Civil Rights, Presidential History, New Deal

Citation