This is yet another one of my data oriented posts, but I will provide some background to the context. In the aftermath of World War II, many issues were befalling the American people. Specifically, transitioning from wartime to peacetime. Part of this were the headaches that involved the maintenance of wartime price control. Indeed, many votes I am counting here involve price control. The key issue of the 1946 midterms was, as I have written about before, meat shortages, which were caused by price controls. Also hitting the American public was a housing shortage as many veterans were coming home to a short supply. Again, we have issues of price control being debated surrounding housing. Communism was yet another issue, particularly in the House, as the House Committee on Un-American Activities became a permanent committee. It was originally thought the committee would end after the departure from Congress of its chairman, Martin Dies Jr.
Labor union unrest also grew after World War II as most unions had followed the wartime “no strike” pledge and the country was beset with strikes, which emboldened organized labor’s critics. Proposals to crack down on organized labor and to exempt certain fields from coverage under the National Labor Relations Board abounded. Nearly all of the issues here were in the context of wartime to peacetime…including the establishment of HCUA as directing increasing scrutiny towards the USSR and communists at home. Civil rights even could be considered a part of this…although civil rights proposals had been made before the end of World War II, they were mostly restricted to anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation. The sense had grown greater than before that it was time to address civil rights, especially since we had just finished fighting an enemy force that took prejudice to its logical extreme.
At this point in my ideological scoring, civil rights hasn’t entered the liberal/conservative dimension…that comes after Harry S. Truman’s announcement of support for civil rights in 1948 and applies primarily but not exclusively to legislation regarding the private sector.
Civil rights votes plotted with MC-Index Scores for 1945-46
Mike’s Conservative Index Vote Descriptions