Lyndon B. Johnson

Maggie Hohfeler

Becoming President/Election of 1964

  • Kennedy was killed, and as Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency in 1963


Election of 1964:

  • Democrat- Johnson
  • Republican- Barry Goldwater
  • Goldwater attacked federal income tax, Social Security, civil rights legislation, nuclear test-ban treaty, and Great Society
  • Johnson won, overwhelmingly

The Great Society

  • The Great Society- a set of New Deal-like policies aimed at transforming American way of life


Four legislative achievements of the Great Society:

1. Aid to education

  • Gave aid to students, not schools, as to avoid the issue of separation of church and state
  • Project Head Start- educational program that improved the performance of underprivileged youth

2. Medical care for elderly and poor

  • Medicare for elderly and Medicaid for poor

3. Immigration reform

  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965- abolished quota system. Doubled allowed immigrants, and the source of immigrants shifted to Latin America and Asia. Also allowed for immigrants' families to come as well

4. New voting rights bills

  • Primarily for blacks
  • 24th Amendment- passed in 1964, prohibited poll taxes in federal elections as a way to get more blacks to vote. However, blacks were still hampered from voting.
  • Voting Rights Act- banned literacy tests and sent federal voter registers to southern states to make sure that blacks were given equal treatment

Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Vietnam War

Gulf of Tonkin

  • Gulf of Tonkin- August 1964, US navy ships began cooperating with South Vietnamese in raids along North Vietnam
  • Supposedly 2 ships were fired upon. Johnson called the attack "unprovoked", wanted to make political gains from this
  • Ordered a limited air raid against North Vietnam's bases
  • Tonkin Gulf Resolution- lawmakers gave war-declaring powers to president and basically handed him a blank check to use further force in Southeast Asia


Vietnam

  • February 1965- US air base bombed, Johnson sends retaliatory troops and bomb raids, by March Operation Rolling Thunder was happening- regular, full-scale bombings of North Vietnam
  • War became "Americanized"- we were putting more and more money and troops into it, South Vietnam wasn't fighting their own war
  • Many anti-war demonstrations, especially from students
  • By 1968- the war was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in our history- government couldn't explain why we were there
  • Tet Offensive- Viet Cong attacked 27 South Vietnamese cities. Ended in military defeat for VC, but it caused America to demand immediate end to the war
  • March 31, 1968- Johnson issues a speech saying he is going to freeze the troop level and gradually shift more responsibility to South Vietnamese, including less bombings

Civil Rights

Civil Rights Act of 1964:

  • Banned racial discrimination in most public places- like theaters, restaurants, hospitals
  • Strengthened the federal government's power to end segregation in schools and other public places
  • Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate discrimination in hiring


Voting:

  • 24th Amendment- passed in 1964, prohibited poll taxes in federal elections as a way to get more blacks to vote. However, blacks were still hampered from voting.
  • Voting Rights Act- banned literacy tests and sent federal voter registers to southern states to make sure that blacks were given equal treatment

1968- Watershed year

  • June 5, 1968- on the night of the California primary, Kennedy was killed by an Arab immigrant who disliked Kennedy's pro-Isreal views
  • Election of 1968- Democrat- Hubert Humphrey, Republican- Richard Nixon; Republicans called for victory in Vietnam and anticrime policies. American Independent Party enters George Wallace into the running. Nixon wins.
  • Tet Offensive- Viet Cong attacked 27 South Vietnamese cities. Ended in military defeat for VC, but it caused America to demand immediate end to the war
  • Vietnam War becomes less popular
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.- April 4th, 1968, MLK was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee