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

24th Amendment

  • 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.