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Nixon’s Civil Rights

Nixon’s Civil Rights

Politics, Principle, and Policy

Dean J. Kotlowski

ISBN 9780674006232

Publication date: 01/15/2002

Richard Nixon believed that history would show his administration in the forefront of civil rights progress. What does the record really say about civil rights under Nixon? In a groundbreaking new book, Dean Kotlowski offers a surprising study of an administration that redirected the course of civil rights in America.

Nixon's policymaking recast the civil rights debate from an argument over racial integration to an effort to improve the economic station of disadvantaged groups. Kotlowski examines such issues as school desegregation, fair housing, voting rights, affirmative action, and minority businesses as well as Native American and women's rights. He details Nixon's role, revealing a president who favored deeds over rhetoric and who constantly weighed political expediency and principles in crafting civil rights policy.

In moving the debate from the street to the system, Nixon set civil rights on a path whose merits and results are still debated. Nixon's Civil Rights is a revealing portrait of one of the most enigmatic figures of modern American politics and a major contribution to the study of civil rights in America.


  • Nixon's Civil Rights is, far and away, the best book written on the topic. It is contemporary history at its absolute finest: exhaustive research, clear prose, trenchant analysis, and shrewd judgments. Anyone interested in the Civil Rights Movement, the 1970s, and the Nixon era will find this book indispensable. A truly landmark study.

    —Douglas Brinkley, University of New Orleans


  • Dean J. Kotlowski is Professor of History at Salisbury University.

Book Details

  • 416 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press