The Stormy Sixties
Lyndon B. Johnson
How Johnson Became President
- When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into presidency while aboard the Airforce One
Election of 1964
- Democratic Lyndon B. Johnson against Republican Barry Goldwater
- The election was not very close and LBJ won 61.1% to 38.5%
The Great Society
- The largest reform agenda since Roosevelt's New Deal
- The civil rights bill that JFK had promised to sign was now passed into law
- Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was passed, attacking the roots of American Poverty
- Head Start was formed. It was a preschool program designed to help disadvantaged children be ready for kindergarten
- Volunteers In Service America (VISTA) was set up to help impoverished American regions receive volunteer teaching
- Medicare was created to lower cost of healthcare for the elderly
- Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of land from industrialism
- Ratified on January 23, 1964
- Prohibits Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax
Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Vietnam War
- Enacted August 10, 1964
- Joint resolution that the U.S. congress passed on August 7, 1964
- Gave President Johnson authorization without a formal declaration of war for the use of "conventional" military force in Southeast Asia.
- Essentially this enabled President Johnson to send troops over to aid in the Vietnamese war against North Vietnam.
- In early 1965 Johnson authorized "Operation Rolling Thunder" which was the bombing of North Vietnam and NLF held territory in South Vietnam
- At the time many supported Johnson however at the end of his term the war had escalated far beyond what anyone had imagined.
1968- A "Watershed" Year!
- Tet offensive in Vietnam: During Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the North Vietnamese soldiers were thought to be recovering and celebrating, but instead had launched a massive attack against 27 key South Vietnamese cities including the Capital, Saigon. In the end it was a military loss for North Vietnam, but a political victory. This caused the American public to insist on an immediate end to the war.
- Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated: MLK jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN. Martin Luther King Jr. was a major part of the Civil Rights Movement.
- Robert Kennedy Assassinated: The brother of John F. Kennedy, and the New York Senator was murdered on June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, CA.
- Nixon defeats Humphrey and Wallace for presidency: Nixon had become president following LBJ's presidency.