Passage 1 is an excerpt from a speech by Senator Everett Dirksen. Passage 2 is an excerpt from a speech by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. Both speeches were delivered on the floor of the United States Senate in 1964. In 1964, the United States Senate debated the Civil Rights Act, a bill outlawing discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, or nationality. Several senators opposed to the bill attempted to block its passage, prompting a response from the bill’s supporters.

Passage 1

Today the Senate is stalemated in its efforts to enact a civil rights bill, one version of which has already been approved by the House by a vote of more than 2 to 1. That the Senate wishes to act on a civil rights bill can be divined from the fact that the motion to take up was adopted by a vote of 67 to 17.There are many reasons why cloture*should be invoked and a good civil rights measure enacted. First. It is said that on the night he died, Victor Hugo wrote in his diary, substantially this sentiment: “Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. ”The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here. Second. Years ago, a professor who thought he had developed an incontrovertible scientific premise submitted it to his faculty associates. Quickly they picked it apart. In agony he cried out, “Is nothing eternal?” To this one of his associates replied, “Nothing is eternal except change. ”Since the act of 1875 on public accommodations and the Supreme Court decision of 1883 which struck it down, America has changed. The population then was 45 million. Today it is 190 million. In the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag we intone, “One nation, under God.” And so it is.It is an integrated nation. Air, rail, and highway transportation make it so.A common language makes it so. A tax pattern which applies equally to white and nonwhite makes it so. Literacy makes it so. The mobility provided by eighty million autos makes it so. The accommodations laws in thirty-four states and the District of Columbia makes it so. The fair employment practice laws in thirty states make it so. Yes, our land has changed since the Supreme Court decision of 1883.As Lincoln once observed: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must first disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save the Union. ”Beginning of reading passage footnotes.
*cloture: a legislative procedure for ending a debate and taking a vote. End of reading passage.

Passage 2

Mr. President: *Speaking for myself, may I say at the outset that I should have preferred it had the issue been resolved before my time as a Senator, or had it not come to the fore until after. The Senator from Montana has no lust for con­flict on this matter. Yet this question is one which invites conflict, for it divides deeply. But, Mr. President, great public issues are not subject to our personal timetables. They do not accommodate themselves to our individual preference or convenience. They emerge in their own way and in their own time. We do not compel them. They compel us. We look in vain if we look backward to past achieve­ments which might spare this Senate the necessity of a diffi­cult decision on the civil rights question. We hope in vain if we hope that this issue can be put over safely to another tomorrow, to be dealt with by another genera­tion of Senators. The time is now. The cross­roads is here in the Senate. To be sure, the issue will not be fully resolved by what we do today. Its resolution depends also on what is done tomorrow and on many to­morrows. Nor will the issue be fully resolved by the Sen­ate or the Congress. Indeed, it will involve all Americans and all the institutions, pub­lic and private, which hold us as a society of diversity in one nation, and it will involve all for a long time to come. In truth, it is a universal issue which, for this nation, having begun with the Declaration of Independence and persisted through the decades, will hardly dissolve in the Senate of the 88th Congress. Nevertheless, at this moment in the nation's history, it is the Senate's time and turn. But, insofar as the majority leader is concerned, he must state to the Senate that it would be a tragic error if this body, as a whole, were to elect the closed-eyes course of inaction. That course, Mr. President, would disclose a cavalier disinterest or a legis­lative impotence on this issue, and either would be complete­ly inconsonant with the seri­ous domestic situation which now confronts us. It is bad enough to evade decision on any major proposal of any President. It is inexcusable in this issue, which has drawn a curtain of uncertainty and insecurity over the entire nation, and over which blood has already run in the streets. In these circumstances, I cannot believe that this Senate will abdicate its constitutional responsibilities. Beginning of reading passage footnotes.
*The presiding officer of the United States Senate is addressed as “Mr. President” or “Madame President.”