Lyndon B. Johnson
36th President 1963-1969
Johnson was chosen as Kennedy's Vice President during his run for president in 1960 to appeal to the southern voters. After Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, Johnson was sworn into office on Air Force One later that same day. Many saw this speedy transfer of power as a cheap power grab by Johnson, but at the time it was meant to show the country that the government would remain stable despite the tragedy.
Johnson won the 1964 election by a landslide, vowing to carry on Kennedy's legacy.
Johnson signed into effect the Civil Rights Act of 1964, originally proposed by Kennedy. This bill outlawed nearly all forms of discrimination and was expanded in 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act allowing scores of African Americans to vote for the first time. Johnson even became the first president in 93 years to prosecute members of the Klu Klux Klan.
Johnson believed in the domino effect proposed by Eisenhower. This resulted in his heavy interest in Vietnam. In 1964, there were about 26,000 troops in Vietnam, but by 1968 that number increased to 550,000. The high deployment number also resulted in a large number of casualties, reaching unto 1000 a month. As the death toll rose, so did the public's unrest. Johnson was constantly mobbed by protesters and was even forced to skip the Democratic National Convention.
It quickly became clear that securing the nomination would not be as easy as it had been four years prior. The democratic party had been facing internal conflict and found itself split into four different groups. This along with personal and health problems forced Johnson to drop out of the race leading to the election of Richard Nixon.