Lyndon Baines Johnson

36th President of the united states, from 1963-1969

Johnson's Ascent to the Presidency

  • Riding in an open limousine on November 22, 1963, president John F. Kennedy was shot in the head and died
  • Vice President Johnson was sworn in as president on an airplane on his way to Washington with the body
  • Kept most of Kennedy's advisers and did his best to honor the lost President
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson was later elected in 1964
  • He headed the democratic party with the most liberal platform since Truman
  • His opponent was one of the most conservative politicians to run for president
  • Barry Goldwater attacked the federal systems created in the past decades, and Johnson attacked his trigger-happy military ideals.
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The Great Society

  • Johnson's new domestic policy was aimed at combating poverty
  • Named The Great Society
  • Gained public support because so many lived in poverty
  • created new cabinet offices, dept of Transportation and dept of Housing and Urban Development
  • Channeled educational aid to students rather than schools
  • Created medicare system to aid the elderly and the poor
  • Reformed immigration laws to eliminate most restrictions and double the total number allowed in per year
  • Many conservatives argued that Johnson wasted billions of dollars on "Social Engineering"
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The 24th Amendment to the Constitution

  • Twenty-fourth amendment Ratified on January 23, 1964
  • outlawed the poll tax in federal elections to keep voting fair
  • Some critics thought the amendment did not go far enough to protect black voting rights in state and local elections
  • This was to combat policies in post-reconstruction south aiming to disenfranchise black voters
  • the poll tax as a whole was deemed unconstitutional in 1966
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Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Veitnam War

  • Tonkin Gulf
  • Early August, 1962
  • US Navy worked against North Veitnam to aid the south without knowledge of the public or congress
  • US Ships were fired upon by North Veitnamese ships, but it was likely to have been in self defense
  • Johnson ordered a retaliation after declaring the attack unprovoked, but without intending to enter a larger combat situation
  • Johnson used this incident to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed him to use his own judgement and freely use whatever further force in Southeast Asia he chose

  • Vietnam War
  • The conflict in Vietnam escalated and Viet Cong guerrillas began to attack US bases while the US bombed Northern Vietnam
  • Johnson originally thought that gradually entering into conflict would drive the enemy to surrender, but the North Vietnamese persevered longer than they thought.
  • The war was at a stalemate
  • Many countries did not like a global superpower like the US attacking an underdeveloped nation
  • Public opposition rapidly increases and became the longest and least popular struggle in US History
  • The conflict raged on, lowering public support for Johnson, who was split between following public request and the army's desires
  • Eventually, the war played a large part in influencing the 1968 election, because Democrats and Republicans both wanted to finish out the war with an honorable peace
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Civil Rights act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act

  • Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin
  • The civil rights act allowed the federal government to enforce desegregation in schools and other institutions
  • because of intimidation and poverty, as few as 5% of blacks were voting
  • Blacks were finally able to vote freely, giving them power to make changes in society
  • Whites now had to cater to blacks for votes in order to guarantee victory
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The year 1968

  • A major communist offensive launched in Vietnam shatters all hopes for the war ending soon
  • Johnson delivers his address to the nation in which he declares that he will not be running in the upcoming election
  • Robert Kennedy, brother to the late JFK, who was running for president, was assassinated on June 5th
  • The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia with over 200k Warsaw pact troops on August 20th, putting an end to the prague spring, and beginning a period of enforced and oppressive "normalization"
  • After months of stalling, the South Vietnamese government agrees to join the Paris Peace Talks
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