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Robert Ervin Howard (born January 22, 1906) was the 17th President of the Confederate States of America. He was the last Democratic Party candidate to serve as president (before it officially became known as the Liberal Party) by narrowly defeating the newly formed Confederalist Party candidate, and staunch segregation supporter Fielding Wright, in the 1957 Confederate presidential election. Despite continuing to build upon the Interstate Highway System begun by former President Marshall, Howard's inability, or unwillingness, to take a stance on Civil Right's issues made him extremely unpopular with both the liberal and conservative factions of his own party and would serve to be the catalyst for the creation of the Liberal Party.
The late 50s and early 60s were tumultuous times in the Confederacy; the first African-American President of the United States, President Robeson had stepped down but in the Confederacy, the Civil Rights movement was at full speed. Many liberals (especially younger voters in bigger cities such as Houston and Atlanta) felt that it was time for the Confederacy to progress as well, while conservatives felt that segregation was natural. While Howard's moderate separate but equal philosophy was enough to get him elected, once he was in office he found a congress that was split between two ideologies that were either too radically left or too radically right, making it nearly impossible to pass any legislation. Despite his desire to compromise he was never able to gain support from either side and, thus, he is often remembered as one of the Confederacy's most ineffective presidents.