Presidential Leadership and Military Discrimination

January 22, 2015
Aaron Belkin & Diane Mazur

Beginning with President Harry Truman’s 1948 executive order2 declaring “the policy of the President” to be “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin,” commanders-in-chief have taken direct, personal action to ensure equality of treatment for service members. Presidential leadership has been a critical factor in preserving, in Truman’s words, the “highest standards of democracy” in the military, “with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country’s defense.”


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