President Johnson

Election

  • Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office after JFK's assassination
  • He was only the fourth president to succeed an assassinated president
  • America began to realize what a great president they had lost


- Election of 1964

  • Democratic
  • Republican candidate was Barry Goldwater
  • Johnson won easily and by a lot
  • He received 61% of popular vote and 90% of electoral vote
  • 6th most lopsided presidential election ever
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The Great Society

  • Johnson called his domestic program the Great Society a little like the New Deal)
  • Congress passed a bunch of legislation
  • Doubled the funding of the Office of Economic Opportunity to $2 billion and created two new cabinet offices
  • Great Society achievements: aid to education, medical care for the elderly and poor, immigration reform, and a new voting rights bill
  • Johnson gave educational aid to students, not schools, avoiding the issue of separation of church and state
  • Medicare was introduced for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor
  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: abolished the quota system in place since 1921 and doubled the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country per year
  • The poverty rate began to decline

Amendments

  • Johnson soon realized that very few blacks were registered to vote
  • 24th Amendment: (1964) abolished the poll tax in federal election

Tonkin Gulf and Vietnam

  • August 1964: in the Gulf of Tonkin US Navy ships had been working with the South Vietnamese in raids along the coast of North Vietnam
  • Two US ships were fired upon and Johnson moved to make political gains out of the incident
  • He ordered an air raid against the North Vietnamese bases and used the event to spur congressional passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution (gave him authorization for the use of conventional military force in Vietnam)

Civil Rights

  • Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (banned racial discrimination in most private facilities open to the public)
  • Also created the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop discrimination in hiring
  • 1965: Johnson issued an executive order that said all federal contractors had to take "affirmative action" against discrimination.
  • Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (banned literacy tests and sent federal voter registers to the south)

1968

  • April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a sniper in Tennessee
  • The war had become the longest and most unpopular foreign war in the US
  • January 1968: Viet Cong attacked 27 key South Vietnamese cities
  • Tet Offensive ended in a military defeat for the VC and caused the Americans to demand an end to the war
  • March 31, 1968: Johnson issued an address to the US stating that he would stop American troop levels and shift more responsibility to the South Vietnamese, and also scale down the bombing
  • June 5, 1968: Robert Kennedy was killed by an Arab immigrant who was resentful of his pro-Israeli views
  • Richard Nixon won the election of 1968