Lyndon Baines Johnson

November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969

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Election of 1964

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How LBJ Became President

In 1960 LBJ was John F. Kennedy's running mate, as Vice President. On November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson took over JFK's position as President. Johnson planned to carry out JFK's plans, and implement several new theories if his own.

Great Society

As Johnson campaigned in 1964, he declared a "war on poverty". He challenged Americans to build a "Great Society" that eliminated the troubles of the poor. American liberalism was at it's height under president Johnson.

  • The Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided major funding for American public schools
  • The voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods of denying suffrage to African Americans.
  • Medicare was created to offset the costs of health care for the nation's elderly.
  • The national endowment for the Arts and Humanities used public money to fund artists and galleries.
  • The immigration Act ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin.
  • An Omnibus Housing Act provided funds to construct low-income housing.
  • Congress tightened pollution controls with stronger Air and Water quality Acts.
  • Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.
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24th Amendment

The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress passed on August 7, 1964 in direct response to a minor naval engagement known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. It is of historical significance because it gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of military force in Southeast Asia.

Civil Rights act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act

This act made racial, religious, and sex discrimination by employers illegal and gave the government the power to enforce all laws governing civil rights, including desegregation of schools and public places.


  • VRA; A law passed at the time of the civil rights movement. It eliminated various devices, such as literacy tests, that had traditionally been used to restrict voting by black people. It authorized the enrollment of voters by federal registrars in states where fewer than fifty percent of the eligible voters were registered or voted. All such states were in the South.
  • On 6 August 1965, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act into law, calling the day ‘‘a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield’’

Vietnam War

  • In this situation the military found itself at odds with their commander-in-chief, the US President.
  • They wanted greater US involvement and they wanted it immediately whereas Johnson, was aware that full US military involvement might have a negative impact on his chances of winning the 1964 election.
  • Johnson believed that it was necessary to order bombing raids on North Vietnam, and that not doing so would make him look weak. He televised the Vietnam issues;


“Repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defence, but with a positive reply. That reply is being given as I speak tonight.”

The Watershed Year