Breadcrumb

Truman and Executive Order 9981: Idealistic, Pragmatic, or Shrewd Politician?

Lesson Author
Course(s)
Required Time Frame
Hook Activity: 15-30 minutes Primary Source Analysis: 1-3 class periods • This depends upon how many sources you choose to use. Fifteen sources are provided, but use as many or few as you see fit. Extension: 15-30 minutes
Subject(s)
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Formulate a deeper level of understanding of Truman and Executive Order 9981 by allowing students to construct their own opinion based upon evidence from primary sources.
Description

The lesson will have three major goals:

1)    Explore the motivations of various Presidents regarding Civil Rights by comparing their “Beliefs” vs. their “Actions”

2)    Formulate a deeper level of understanding of Truman and Executive Order 9981 by allowing students to construct their own opinion based upon evidence from primary sources

3)    Extend the topic to current events by exploring the issue of affirmative action

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

Formulate a deeper level of understanding of Truman and Executive Order 9981 by allowing students to construct their own opinion based upon evidence from primary sources

Lesson Objectives - the student will

1)    We will develop reading and analyzing skills by analyzing multiple primary sources related to Truman and Executive Order 9981.

2)    We will develop verbal skills by discussing the sources in class through a jigsaw activity.

3)    We will develop writing skills by answering the central question using evidence from the primary sources that were covered in class.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Kansas History, Government and Social Studies Standards

Standard 1:  Choices have consequences.

1.1:  The student will recognize and evaluate significant choices made by individuals, communities, states, and nations that have impacted our lives and futures.

1.2:  The student will analyze the context under which choices are made and draw conclusions about the motivations and goals of the decision-makers.

1.3:  The student will investigate examples of causes and consequences of particular choices and connect those choices with contemporary issues.

Standard 4:  Societies experience continuity and change over time.

4.1:  The student will recognize and evaluate continuity and change over time and its impact on individuals, institutions, communities, states and nations.

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

Mystery Quotes:  Jefferson, Lincoln, Truman and Johnson

 

“I will then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races…and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality.”

 

“We (the NAACP) didn’t consider him a friend.  We considered him more dedicated to his concept of the role of a Majority Leader in the Senate than he was to the civil rights cause.”

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

“I wish to make it clear that I am not appealing for social equality of the Negro.  The Negro himself knows better than that, and the highest types of Negro leaders say quite frankly, that they prefer the society of their own people.  Negroes want justice, not social relations.”

 

 

 

 

“I wish to make it clear that I am not appealing for social equality of the Negro.  The Negro himself knows better than that, and the highest types of Negro leaders say quite frankly, that they prefer the society of their own people.  Negroes want justice, not social relations.”

-         Harry Truman, address to the National Colored Democratic Association (1940)

“I will then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races…and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality.”

-         Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Charleston, Illinois (1858)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

-         Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

“We (the NAACP) didn’t consider him a friend.  We considered him more dedicated to his concept of the role of a Majority Leader in the Senate than he was to the civil rights cause.”

-         Roy Wilkins, former Executive Director of the NAACP, an oral history taken in 1969 – Speaking of Senator Lyndon Johnson

 

 

President

 

Action Taken

 

Why Was This Important?

 

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

 

Wrote the Declaration of Independence

 

(+)  Sets the standard of equality that the United States continues to aspire to.

 

(-)   What about women and African Americans?  How are they included in this statement?

 

 

Abraham Lincoln

 

 

Issued the Emancipation Proclamation

 

(+)  Freed the slaves, but only in areas held by the Confederacy.

 

(-)  Wasn’t this just an act of war?

 

 

Harry S. Truman

 

 

Issued Executive Order 9981

 

 

(+)  Ended segregation in the military.

 

(-)  Didn’t baseball have a more successful move toward desegregation, without being forced to, at about the same time?

 

 

Lyndon Johnson

 

 

Pushed Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964

 

 

(+)  Ended unequal voter registration requirements and ended segregation in schools, workplaces and public places.

 

(-)  Isn’t this the same guy who was against civil rights legislation in the 1950’s?

 

 

Idealistic

 

Pragmatic

 

Shrewd Politician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Harry S. Truman – Executive Order 9981 (July 26, 1948)

WHEREAS it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country’s defense:

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1)      It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.  This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

2)      There shall be create in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President’s Committee on Equality of treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.

3)      The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into rules, procedures and practices of the Armed Services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order.  The Committee shall confer and advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy herof.

4)      All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.

5)      When requested by the committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.

6)      The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive order.

Harry Truman

The White House

July 26, 1948

 

Harry S. Truman – Letter to Bess Wallace (June 22, 1911)

At this time, Truman lived on the family farm thirty miles south of Independence, Missouri, and he is courting Bess Wallace.  Truman was twenty-seven years old when he wrote this letter.

 

“…Speaking of diamonds, would you wear a solitaire on your left hand should I get it?  Now that is a rather personal or pointed question provided you take it for all it means.  You know, were I an Italian or a poet I would commence and use all the luscious language of two continents.  I am not either but only a kind of good-for-nothing American farmer.  I always had a sneaking notion that some day maybe I’d amount to something.  I doubt it now though like everything.  It is a family failing of ours to be poor financiers.  I am blest that way.  Still that doesn’t keep me from having always thought that you were all that a girl could be possibly and impossibly.  You may not have guessed it but I’ve been crazy about you ever since we went to Sunday school together.  But I never had the nerve to think you’d even look at me.  I don’t think so now but I can’t keep from telling you what I think of you….

I am going to send you the book number of Life.  There is a page of books in it that look good.  Don’t get Ashes of God, for I am going to get it and I’ll and I’ll let you have it.  Every review I have read on it says it is fine.  I have thrown my sticks away and use only a cane now.  I told Ethel I am going to get me a gold-headed one and an eyeglass, if some one of my friends lent me the coin, and pretend that I had been to Georgie V’s crowning.  Don’t you abhor snobs?  Think of such men as Morgan paying to be allowed to dance with royalty.  You know there isn’t a royal family in Europe that wouldn’t disgrace any good citizen to belong to.  I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.  Uncle Wills says that the Lord made a white man from dust, a nigger from mud, and then threw what was left and it came down a Chinaman.  He does hate Chinese and Japs.  So do I.  It is race prejudice I guess.  But I am strongly of the opinion that negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia, and white men in Europe and America….”

Senator Harry S. Truman – Speech to the National Colored Democratic Association at Chicago, Illinois (July 14, 1940)

In this address to a group of civil rights leaders, Truman provides his definition of racial equality.

 

“I wish to make it clear that I am not appealing for social equality of the Negro.  The Negro himself, knows better than that, and the highest types of Negro leaders say quite frankly, that they prefer the society of their own people.  Negroes want justice, not social relations.  I merely wish to sound a note of warning.  Numberless antagonisms and indignities heaped upon any race will event