Presidents and civil liberties from Wilson to Obama : a story of poor custodians / Samuel Walker
- Walker, Samuel, 1942-
- Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Physical Description:
- xxi, 546 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
- Introduction: Presidents and civil liberties : Scenes from the White House ; Poor custodians of American liberties ; Presidents and America's core values -- pt. I. The early years. Woodrow Wilson and the suppression of civil liberties in World War I : "Such creations ... must be crushed out" ; Wilson, progressivism, and civil liberties ; War and repression begin, 1917 ; Wilson's role in the repression ; The mind of the progressive reformer ; The final orgy: the Red Scare, 1919-1920 ; An ominous legacy: origins of the national security state ; Moving backward on race ; A reluctant path to women's suffrage ; Brandeis to the Supreme Court ; End of a presidency: dawn of the civil liberties era -- 2. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover: civil liberties in the wilderness : Civil liberties in a changing America ; The Red Scare "hangover" ; Amnesty for the victims of wartime prosecutions ; Political spying continues ; Keeping dangerous ideas out of the United States ; A national campaign for racial justice ; Alice Paul, the ERA, and a new direction for women's rights ; Sex and censorship: the Post Office and the Customs Bureau ; Attacking the First Amendment rights of organized labor ; Lawless policing: prohibition enforcement ; Freedom to teach: the Scopes case ; Straws in the wind: the Supreme Court shifts ; End of the Republican era -- 4. Franklin D. Roosevelt: the mixed legacy of a strong president : "The greatest violation of civil liberties in American history" ; The Japanese-American tragedy: FDR decides ; FDR, the Constitution, and presidential power ; The tragedy unfolds ; The rights of working people: a casual indifference ; Federal protection for civil rights: origins of the Civil Rights Division ; Unleashing FBI spying: the permanent national security state ; Troubling claims of presidential power ; A march on Washington? FDR confronts the civil rights movement ; Freedom of speech in peace and war ; Creating the Roosevelt court ; President Roosevelt versus the Roosevelt years --, pt. II. Civil liberties in the cold war and civil rights eras. 5. Harry Truman: courage and contradictions : Cold war contradictions ; Truman and civil liberties ; Anti-communism at home and abroad ; The loyalty program in operation ; Attacking the Communist Party and "dangerous" ideas ; Truman, J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI ; The rise of government secrecy, and challenges ; McCarthyism arrives ; Unmatched political courage: Truman and civil rights ; Korea: three crucial decisions on presidential power ; A divisive church-state controversy ; Last gasp (for a while) for the ERA ; Mediocrity on the Supreme Court ; The ambiguity of strong presidential leadership -- 6. Dwight D. Eisenhower: a failure of presidential leadership : "My biggest mistake" ; Silence on Joe McCarthy ; Civil rights: a leadership failure ; Ike, Communism, and domestic security ; Secrecy, executive privilege, and the CIA ; A weak record on women's issues ; Creating the Warren Court ; The end of the fifties -- 7. John F. Kennedy: the failed promise of the new frontier : A walk in the Rose Garden ; A voice for religious tolerance ; "Bystander": Kennedy's failure on civil rights ; JFK's historic speech and a Civil Rights Bill ; Robert Kennedy's Justice Department ; The press, secrecy, and the CIA ; Standing firm on church and state: the school prayer decision ; A forgotten initiative on women's rights ; Initiating immigration reform ; A mixed record on judicial appointments ; A presidency cut short -- 8. The glory and the tragedy of Lyndon Johnson : "We ... shall ... overcome" ; Presidential leadership: the 1964 Civil Rights Act ; Selma and the Voting Rights Act: LBJ seizes the moment ; LBJ's vision of a truly egalitarian society ; Blind spot: LBJ and women's rights ; Finessing the wall of separation ; Wiretapping, the FBI, and crime ; LBJ's dark side: abuse of the FBI and the CIA ; The end of the liberal moment: riots and the war on crime ; Civil libertarians to the Supreme Court ; The tragedy of Vietnam ; A presidency ruined, dreams destroyed -- 9. Richard Nixon: a singular abuse of presidential power : "I am not a crook" ; The conversative reaction, 1968 ; Nixon takes office: the abuses begin ; "Law and order" politics ; A different vision of progress on race ; Nixon confronts the sexual revolution ; Parochaid: attacking the wall of separation ; A surprising stand on women's rights ; The Nixon court: the conservative revolution delayed ; The road to Watergate ; The Watergate break-in and the end of a presidency ; An abuse of presidential power unlike any other --, pt. III. The post-Watergate era. 10. Gerald Ford: a minor president in very interesting times : The Nixon pardon ; Between Watergate and neoconservatism ; Edward H. Levi: integrity in the Attorney General's office ; The Watergate hangover ; Reform: curbing the abuses of power ; Confusion on civil rights ; In the crossfire on women's rights and abortion rights ; Stepping up the war on crime ; Stevens to the Supreme Court ; A minor president in very interesting times -- 11. Jimmy Carter: good civil libertarian, failed president : A blurred vision for America ; An independent attorney general ; Faith and politics: a tiger by the tail ; The lonely middle of the road on abortion ; Dilemmas on civil rights ; Forward and backward on women and family issues ; Opening the White House door to lesbian and gay rights ; The new world of national security politics ; The hostage crisis: backtracking on national security ; An unhappy end ; A failed president, with a decent record -- 12. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush: the neoconservative assault on civil liberties : "I wear their indictment like a badge of honor" ; The advent of Reagan and the New Right ; The powerful new Religious Right ; Understanding Reagan and Reaganism ; A woman on the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O'Connor ; The politics of abortion ; A deadly silence on AIDS ; Attorney General Meese's right-wing agenda ; Storming the wall of separation ; War on crime, and on civil liberties ; Rolling back civil rights enforcement ; Iran-Contra: the issue of presidential power returns ; Transforming the Supreme Court ; The first George Bush ; Twelve years of neoconservatism -- 13. Bill Clinton: the divided soul of a "New Democrat" : A "New Democrat" in the White House ; Taking office: initiatives and crises ; A special rapport: Bill Clinton and African Americans ; Fighting crime, eroding civil liberties ; Standing firm on abortion rights and women's rights ; Preserving the wall of separation in public schools ; Clinton and the First Amendment ; Troubling assertions of presidential power ; Confronting international terrorism ; Moderate libertarians to the Supreme Court ; A contradictory president --, and pt. IV. Civil liberties in the age of terrorism. George W. Bush: a systematic assault on the Constitution : Over to "the dark side" ; 9/11: the world of civil liberties changes ; Secret, and not secret, abuses of presidential power ; The world, America, and Vice President Cheney ; Asserting presidential power: three avenues ; The dark side: rendition, detention, and torture ; An international disgrace: torture ; The Supreme Court confronts presidential power ; Authorization to go to war ; A religious crusade at home ; An antihomosexual agenda, with some odd compromises ; "Bush league science": the war on science ; Politicizing the Justice Department ; The Supreme Court: the conservative revolution finally arrives ; The most sweeping assault on the Constitution -- 15. Conclusion: reflections on presidents, civil liberties, and democracy: with observations on Barack Obama : America transformed: the rights revolution ; Presidents and the rights revolution ; Presidents and civil liberties ; Civil liberties and democracy ; An alternative interpretation of democracy and rights ; Final thoughts: a conversation about America.
- "This book is a history of the civil liberties records of American presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. It examines the full range of civil liberties issues: First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, press and assembly; due process; equal protection, including racial justice, women's rights, and lesbian and gay rights; privacy rights, including reproductive freedom; and national security issues. The book argues that presidents have not protected or advanced civil liberties, and that several have perpetrated some of the worst violations. Some Democratic presidents (Wilson and Roosevelt), moreover, have violated civil liberties as badly as some Republican presidents (Nixon and Bush). This is the first book to examine the full civil liberties records of each president (thus, placing a president's record on civil rights with his record on national security issues), and also to compare the performance on particular issues of all the presidents covered"--
- 9781107016606 (hbk.) and 1107016606 (hbk.)
- Bibliography Note:
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 511-520) and index.
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