2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Moral Warfare: Harry Truman's Civil Rights Agenda in the Early Cold War Era
Emily Cain ♦
Dr.  Dan Mandell , Faculty Mentor

In 1948, Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9808 which created the President's Committee on Civil Rights. This executive order, along with other civil rights polices enacted by the Truman administration, arguably began the modern civil rights movement. This paper studies Truman's personal motivations behind his civil rights program and argues that Truman's stance on civil rights was mainly motivated by his personal moral convictions. These actions were part of a larger Cold War strategy in which Truman attempted to utilize the moral forces of the world to stand against the communist threat. However, there are two sides of Harry Truman that appear in this study: on one side a civil rights activist and the other, a racist. This paper will present these contrasting sides of Truman and show how they are not in opposition, but actually remain consistent throughout Truman's life when Truman's definition of civil rights is closely examined.

Keywords: President Truman, civil rights, Cold War


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 311-4
Location: VH 1324
Time: 1:45

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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