Talk:Howard W. Smith

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There's some disagreement as to why Congressman Smith added in to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 an amendment that protects women against discrimination. Robert V. Remini is the official historian of the House of Representatives, appointed by the current Speaker, Dennis Hastert, to write a history of the House. It seems as though that position and the research done to write his recent book (published in 2006), means that his scholarship should be included in the article. (I'm not saying that ONLY his scholarship should be in there, but unless for some reason the book is debunked or is shown, with evidence, to be inaccurate, information in his book should be included.) On pages 401-402, he discusses how Smith included the amendment in an attempt to kill the bill, and gave a quote from a colleage attesting to that fact. I think this should be included, without discounting it, as a legitmate scholarly source. User:Mattweng

Remini could not possibly read everything over the last 200+_ years (he had only a few years to write the book), and he missed Freeman's article which is full of new information. (Remini is a specialist on the age of Henry Clay and Jackson 130 years earlier.) Nobody knew about Smith's close ties to the feminists so they assumed he hated women. New research solves old puzzle. Rjensen 03:20, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
It is surely at least possible that Smith was friendly to the idea that if there had to be a civil rights act, it would protect women as well, but also hoped that the women's thing might be a poison pill that would kill the bill. The southern opponents of civil rights proposed enormous numbers of amendments to the thing in hopes that this would lessen support for it. Perhaps the proposals were often of things they actually supported, but that doesn't necessarily change the motivation. john k 02:38, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Smith wanted two things--no civil rights for blacks and 2) equal rights for women. He worked for many years on both. There is no evidence of a poison pill effect. Rjensen 03:21, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Except that there's tons of sources on the subject that say it was intended as a poison pill, as Freeman herself admits, before going on to argue that they are wrong. It seems problematic to advance a single article as the truth and to ignore all the other stuff that's been written on the subject, even if the single article is correct. It would appear from Freeman that Smith purposely delivered a speech that made it seem he viewed the whole thing as a joke. Furthermore, Freeman denies that a "poison pill" was the only motive, and even that it was the primary motive, but she does not deny that it was a motive, and certainly it seems to be one of the reasons that other southerners voted for it. john k 12:37, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
well you look for evidence. The evidence is solid that Smith worked with the ERA groups (esp Paul) for years. Almost no actual evidence the other way--only assumptions that the old curmudgeon surely wasn't a feminist!! and yes, I'm sure Smith was delighted to see the civil rights folks reject equal rights for women (that tension goes back to Reconstruction. The civil rights forces in 1870 deliberately left the women out of the 15th amendment--which really angered the women then and ever since.) Poison pill--only if equality was poison to liberals who did not really believe in equality at all. Rjensen 13:02, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, that was certainly Smith's idea, wasn't it, that Liberals did not really believe in equality at all? My understanding was that the southerners mostly believed this, and that agitation for civil rights legislation was due to outside agitation by civil rights activists. That being said, I'm willing to accept the current form, more or less, and I'm certainly willing to accept that Smith was genuinely a supporter of women's rights. I'm just concerned with us presenting a single article as definitive and barely mentioning the (probably incorrect) majority position. john k 13:07, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
agreed Rjensen 13:29, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Poison Pill[edit]

From the talk page: "Poison pill--only if equality was poison to liberals who did not really believe in equality at all."

This statement is loaded and does not present the only conclusion. Say a very liberal Member of Congress sincerely believes in banning handguns. A very conservative Congressman introduces a bill banning all private and federal research on global warming. Our very liberal Member attempts to add an amendment that bans handguns. Is this attempt genuine, or an attempt to derail the bill? The latter is a clear possibility. When Congressional Republicans combined a cut in the estate tax to an increase of the federal minimum wage bill this past summer, this wasn't a poisonous pill destined not to be swallowed by the Republican controlled Senate?

I don't doubt Congressman Smith's sincere embracement of equal rights for women. Nor do I doubt his sincerity in denying equal rights for blacks. The evidence concerning his motivation for adding "sex" to the Civil Rights Bill is contradictory (e.g., the speech and other scholarly work). Therefore, making such declarative statements in an encyclopedia is POV.

Whether Representative Carl Elliott was aware or not of Smith's "feminist connections", does not go to prove that Smith added "sex" without any intentions but love of feminism.

According to Tip O'Neill, "...Sam Rayburn [said] that ... he knew that Judge Smith would do almost anything to block a civil rights bill[.]" The bill was passed because of the new reform "Twenty-one Day Rule"; if his Rules Committee didn't send it to the floor within 21 days, which they didn't, then the bill would automatically be submitted to the floor. To argue that *conclusively* he was acting pure in heart by adding in "sex" into the bill isn't warranted.

While this article gives some emphasis to his feminist beliefs, details concerning his history of segregationist beliefs, his tactical intellect, etc. need detailing.

FWIW, the context of my Tip O'Neill quote concerned Smith's proclivity to "disappear" when someone wanted to discuss action on the civil rights bill. The full quote:

Another time, when his presence was desired, it was reported that he went home because his barn had burned down. According to Tip O'Neill, "This prompted Sam Rayburn to say that while he knew that Judge Smith would do almost anything to block a civil rights bill, he had always assumed that the chairman would draw the line at arson." (p. 139, Thomas P. O'Neill, "Man of the House: The Life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O'Neill" (New York: Random House, 1987)). Therefore 04:27, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

I think Smith (and all the Southerners) knew they would lose the civil rights bill. Most southerners ALSO opposed rights for women, so Smith had to play it "funny" to not get the Southerners adamant against the sex clause. He was considered a brilliant parliamentarian, and he did get his way on the gender issue. Rjensen 04:50, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

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In the current ordering, the acronym NWP occurs before it has been explained. AnonMoos (talk) 11:01, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Howard W. Smith/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This article meets the minimum criteria for a B class article. It does, however, need serious expansion in almost every section, persondata and proper referencing. -Duribald 16:46, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 16:46, 24 March 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 18:20, 29 April 2016 (UTC)