Lyndon B. Johnson


Rise to Presidency

  • served as Kennedy's VP
  • took over in 1963 after Kennedy's assassination
  • was elected for a second term in 1964 in a landslide victory against Republican Barry Goldwater

The Great Society

  • the Great Society was a set of domestic programs organized by LBJ and presented to Congress in the 1960's
  • primary goals were elimination of poverty and racial injustice
  • enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and another in 1965), the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and two education acts in 1965
  • along with numerous other federal organizations designed to aid impoverished civilians, the Great Society introduced Medicaid and Medicare
  • critics claim that the Great Society's anti-poverty efforts were ultimately a failure
  • domestic pursuits became a much lesser priority once the costs of the Vietnam War became too great

The 24th Amendment

  • declared the institution of a poll tax in elections unconstitutional
  • considered an extension of LBJ's war on poverty
  • quote: "There can be no one too poor to vote."

Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Vietnam War

  • the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was enacted on August 10, 1964
  • granted LBJ the authorization to use military force in Southeast Asia without an official declaration of war by Congress
  • the Vietnam War extended from before LBJ's Presidency until well after he left office
  • thanks to his new military liberties thanks to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, LBJ was free to increase the number of American military personnel in Vietnam from 16,000 to 550,000 from 1963 to 1968
  • conditions grew increasingly desperate in Vietnam as time went on
  • ultimately, Agent Orange, an exceptionally dangerous chemical weapon, was used in Vietnam and caused an incredible number of deaths, including Americans

Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, skin color, religion, sex, or national origin
  • Voting Rights Act rendered it illegal to discriminate people based on the aforementioned traits in a voting environment
  • both acts served as landmark achievements in the civil rights movement
  • secured core rights for African Americans in particular, who had been vehemently fighting for rights in the years leading up to these acts
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is a crucial leader in the campaign that resulted in the acts


  • assassinations of Robert Kennedy and MLK
  • Nixon's rise to Presidency
  • the Tet Offensive, an all-out attack from the Viet Cong guerillas, was launched in Vietnam
  • the situation in Vietnam was beginning to affect American life, and many were losing hope of victory