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Impact of Senator Mike Mansfield on the 1964 Civil Rights Act



Billings, Montana – On Friday, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced to the U.S. Senate by Sen. Mike Mansfield of Montana, who was the majority leader at the time.

“He was a master at reaching across the aisle,” said Keith Edgerton, a history professor at Montana State University Billings. “He knew how to find common ground and find a way to get things done.”

Normally, a Senate committee would have cleared the legislation before it was presented to the full Senate.

Mansfield broke the rules to make sure the bill would be heard by the senate.

In addition to opposing the bill, Georgian Senator Richard Russell threatened to filibuster it.

The first filibuster against the law began on March 9th, 1964, and continued until March 26th of that same year.

Then, the Senate made the Civil Rights Bill its current business.

The bill was approved by the Senate on June 19th, 1964, by a vote of 73 to 27.

“Mansfield was a person that got things done, and that’s what I think people want out of their politicians,” said Edgerton.

“He wasn’t one to squabble and dig in your heels and never accomplish much of anything. He truly knew how to succeed in what he set out to do.”

On July 2nd, 1964, President Lynden B. Johnson ratified the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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