1964 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE 4585
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I
ask unanimous consent to proceed to the
consideration of Calendar No. 854, H.R.
7152, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there
Mr. HILL. Mr. President, reserving
the right to object, did the Senator ask
for unanimous consent?
Mr. MANSFIELD. I asked for unanimous
Mr. HILL. I shall have to object to
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President-The
PRESIDING OFFICER. The
Senator from Montana.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President,
since the civil rights bill was sent over
from the House, the Senate has acted on
three major pieces of legislation. We
voted on the tax bill conference report.
We voted a bill appropriating funds for
national defense. We passed badly
needed agricultural legislation. Each in
its own right was of imn:ense importance
to the people of the Nation.
In all frankness, I would have preferred
it, had we been able to proceed
directly to the consideration of civil
rights legislation when the bill arrived
from the House. But the responsibilities
of the Senate are manifold and do not
always admit of the leadership's preferences.
In any event, the issue of
civil rights can wait no longer in the
The courts, private groups throughout
the country, the House of Representatives,
and the President have faced this
issue squarely and have taken a great
deal of action within the limits of their
Now it is the time and tum of the
Racial inequities are among the oldest
and most dangerous faults in the structure
of this Nation. What we do here in
the 88th Congress wlll not, of itself, correct
these faults, but we can and must
join the wisdom-the collective wisdom
of this body-to the efforts of others in
this Nation to face up to them for what
they are-a serious erosion of the fundamental
rock upon which the unity of
the Nation stands.
It is bad enough to avoid decision on
any majority proposal of the .President.
But when the whole Nation has roused
itself from a hundred years of apathy
and Indifference and has now begun to
treat this question with the deep concern
which it warrants, it would be inexcusable
!or the Senate to shunt It
aside. This body, no less than the courts
and the President and the House of Representatives,
Is charged by the Constitution
with responsibility for achieving a
fundamental equity for all of the people
of the United States.
I Implore the Senate, therefore, when
this bill is taken up, to debate it, to debate
it as long as is necessary for all
views to be presented and argued. But
then, Mr. President, I implore the Senate
to vote on it, to do whatever is necessary
so that, in the end, it may be
voted up or down.
There are no suave parliamentary
tricks which can be used to bring us to
that decisive moment. There is only
such good sense as may reside in each
of us and the sense of Senate responsibility
with respect to the present and
future needs of the Nation.
There is an ebb and flow in human
affairs which at rare moments brings
the complex of human events into a
delicate balance. At those moments, the
acts of governments may indeed influence,
for better or for worse, the
course of history. This is such a moment
in the life of the Nation. This is that
moment for the Senate.
If ever the Members of this body have
needed to strive to put aside personal
advantage and partisan political considerations,
and to seek the national
good in its noblest terms, now is that
I now move that the Senate proceed to
the consideration of H.R. 7152, the civil
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 42, Folder 40, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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