The Southern Manifesto, History 1302 DB 6 help

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Read Chapters 23 and 24 along with the information provided
regardingThe Southern Manifesto. Once all reading is complete,
respond to the following items using a minimum of 300 words, no citing, and use
your own words:

1. What is the
basis of the opposition to the Brown decision as expressed in this

2.  According
to the manifesto, whose power would the federal government usurp by
implementing Brown?

3. What role
did “habits,” “customs,” and “traditions” play in the arguments presented in
the document?


Southern Manifesto on Integration (March 12,

From Congressional Record, 84th Congress Second
Session. Vol. 102, part 4. Washington, D.C.: Governmental Printing Office,
1956. 4459-4460.


In 1956, 19 Senators and 77 members of the House
of Representatives signed the “Southern Manifesto,” a resolution
condemning the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The
resolution called the decision “a clear abuse of judicial power” and
encouraged states to resist implementing its mandates. In response to Southern
opposition, in 1958 the Court revisited the Brown decision in Cooper v. Aaron,
asserting that the states were bound by the ruling and affirming that its
interpretation of the Constitution was the “supreme law of the land.”


The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in
the public school cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men
substitute naked power for established law.

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution of
checks and balances because they realized the inescapable lesson of history
that no man or group of men can be safely entrusted with unlimited power. They
framed this Constitution with its provisions for change by amendment in order
to secure the fundamentals of government against the dangers of temporary
popular passion or the personal predilections of public officeholders. 

We regard the decision of the Supreme Court in
the school cases as clear abuse of judicial power. It climaxes a trend in the Federal
judiciary undertaking to legislate, in derogation of the authority of Congress,
and to encroach upon the reserved rights of the states and the people. 

The original Constitutional does not mention
education. Neither does the Fourteenth Amendment nor any other amendment. The
debates preceding the submission of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly show that
there was no intent that it should affect the systems of education maintained
by the states. 

The very Congress which proposed the amendment
subsequently provided for segregated schools in the District of Columbia. 

When the amendment was adopted in 1868, there
were thirty-seven states of the Union. Every one of the twenty-six states that
had any substantial racial differences among its people either approved the
operation of segregated schools already in existence or subsequently
established such schools by action of the same law-making body which considered
the Fourteenth Amendment. 

As admitted by the Supreme Court in the public
school case (Brown v. Board of Education), the doctrine of separate but equal
schools “apparently originated in Roberts v. City of Boston (1849),
upholding school segregation against attack as being violative of a state
constitutional guarantee of equality.” This constitutional doctrine began
in the North-not in the South-and it was followed not only in Massachusetts but
in Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey,
Ohio, Pennsylvania and other northern states until they, exercising their rights
as states through the constitutional processes of local self-government,
changed their school systems. 

In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 the
Supreme Court expressly declared that under the Fourteenth Amendment no person
was denied any of his rights if the states provided separate but equal public
facilities. This decision has been followed in many other cases. It is notable
that the Supreme Court, speaking through Chief Justice Taft, a former President
of the United States, unanimously declared in 1927 in Lum v. Rice that the
“separate but equal” principle is “* * * within the discretion
of the state in regulating its public schools and does not conflict with the
Fourteenth Amendment.” 

This interpretation, restated time and again,
became a part of the life of the people of many of the states and confirmed
their habits, customs, traditions and way of life. It is founded on elemental
humanity and common sense, for parents should not be deprived by Government of
the right to direct the lives and education of their own children. 

Though there has been no constitutional
amendment or act of Congress changing this established legal principle almost a
century old, the Supreme Court of the United States, with no legal basis for
such action, undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted
their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the

This unwarranted exercise of power by the court,
contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the states
principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white
and Negro races that have been created through ninety years of patient effort
by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where
there has been heretofore friendship and understanding. 

Without regard to the consent of the governed,
outside agitators are threatening immediate and revolutionary changes in our
public school systems. If done, this is certain to destroy the system of public
education in some of the states. 

With the gravest concern for the explosive and
dangerous condition created by this decision and inflamed by outside

We reaffirm our reliance on the Constitution as
the fundamental law of the land. 

We decry the Supreme Court’s encroachments on
rights reserved to the states and to the people, contrary to established law
and to the Constitution. 

We commend the motives of those states which
have declared the intention to resist forced integration by any lawful

We appeal to the states and people who are not
directly affected by these decisions to consider the constitutional principles
involved against the time when they too, on issues vital to them, may be the
victims of judicial encroachment. 

Even though we constitute a minority in the
present congress, we have full faith that a majority of the American people
believe in the dual system of government which has enabled us to achieve our
greatness and will in time demand that the reserved rights of the states and of
the people be made secure against judicial usurpation. 

We pledge ourselves to use all lawful means to
bring about a reversal of this decision which is contrary to the Constitution
and to prevent the use of force in its implementation. 

In this trying period, as we all seek to right
this wrong, we appeal to our people not to be provoked by the agitators and
troublemakers invading our states and to scrupulously refrain from disorder and
lawless acts. 

Signed by: 

Members of the United States Senate: 

Alabama-John Sparkman and Lister Hill. 

Arkansas-J. W. Fulbright and John L.

Florida-George A. Smathers and Spessard L.

Georgia-Walter F. George and Richard B.

Louisiana-Allen J. Ellender and Russell B.

Mississippi-John Stennis and James O.

North Carolina-Sam J. Ervin Jr. and W. Kerr

South Carolina-Strom Thurmon and Olin D.

Texas-Price Daniel. 

Virginia-Harry F. Bird and A. Willis

Members of the United States House of Representatives: 

Alabama-Frank J. Boykin, George M. Grant, George
M. Andrews, Kenneth R. Roberts, Albert Rains, Armistead I. Selden Jr., Carl
Elliott, Robert E. Jones and George Huddleston Jr. 

Arkansas-E. C. Gathings, Wilbur D. Mills, James
W. Trimble, Oren Harris, Brooks Hays, F. W. Norrell. 

Florida-Charles E. Bennett Robert L. Sikes, A.
S. Her Jr., Paul G. Rogers, James A. Haley, D. R. Matthews. 

Georgia-Prince H. Preston, John L. Pilcher, E.
L. Forrester, John James Flint Jr., James C. Davis, Carl Vinson, Henderson
Lanham, Iris F. Blitch, Phil M. Landrum, Paul Brown. 

Louisiana-F. Edward Hebert, Hale Boggs, Edwin E.
Willis, Overton Brooks, Otto E. Passman, James H. Morrison, T. Ashton Thompson,
George S. Long. 

Mississippi-Thomas G. Abernethy, Jamie L.
Whitten, Frank E. Smith, John Bell Williams, Arthur Winsted, William M.

North Carolina-Herbert C. Bonner, L. H.
Fountain, Graham A. Barden, Carl T. Durham, F. Ertel Carlyle, Hugh Q.
Alexander, Woodrow W. Jones, George A. Shuford. 

South Carolina-L. Mendel Rivers, John J. Riley,
W. J. Bryan Dorn, Robert T. Ashmore, James P. Richards, John L. McMillan. 

Tennessee-James B. Frazier Jr., Tom Murray, Jere
Cooper, Clifford Davis. 

Texas-Wright Patman, John Dowdy, Walter Rogers,
O. C. Fisher. 

Virginia-Edward J. Robeson Jr., Porter Hardy
Jr., J. Vaughan Gary, Watkins M. Abbitt, William M. Tuck, Richard H. Poff, Burr
P. Harrison, Howard W. Smith, W. Pat Jennings, Joel T. Brothill. 

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