Civil rights act: An act that would not have become law were it not for Republicans in the Senate. A greater percentage of Republicans in the Senate voted for the Civil Rights Act than did Democrats. J. William Fulbright -- a senator from Arkansas -- was a segregationist. He was opposed to the Civil Rights Act. Algore Sr. and most of the southern Democrats were righteously indignant and opposed to the Civil Rights Act. Yet Lyndon Baines Johnson gets credit for it.