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The Great Society

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The great society

The Great Society

Angela Brown

Chapter 19 Section 2

Learning targets

Learning Targets:

  • Describe Johnson’s path to the White House.

  • List some of the programs and effects of Johnson’s Great Society.

  • Identify some of the landmark cases handed down by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Lbj s path to the white house

LBJ’s Path to the White House

  • House of Representatives in 1937 – New Deal Democrat from Texas

  • 1948 Senate by 87 votes

  • Johnson became famous for ability to work within the political system to accomplish his goals.



  • Bid for democratic nomination failed in 1960

  • Agreed to vice-presidential position but soon frustrated by powerlessness of office – missed Congress

Building the great society

Building the Great Society

  • Swift passage of Kennedy’s Civil Rights and tax bills followed the assassination.

  • Johnson branched out; he sought laws to aid public education, provide medical care for elderly and eliminate poverty.

  • 1964 called goals the Great Society

The election of 1964

The Election of 1964

  • Landslide victory for Johnson over Barry Goldwater.

  • (486 to 52 electoral votes – 61% of popular vote)

  • Democrats established a majority in both houses.

The great society

Barry goldwater

Barry Goldwater

  • Goldwater’s conservative views seemed radical to Americans.

  • He opposed Civil Rights legislation and believed military commanders should be allowed to use nuclear bombs as they saw fit in battle.

The tax cut

The Tax Cut

  • Believed a budget deficit could be used to help the economy

  • Johnson agreed to cut government spending to get tax cut through Congress.

  • GNP rose 7.1% in 1964; 8.1 % in 1865; 9.5% in 1966 – the deficit shrank

  • The revival of prosperity generated new tax revenues – unemployment fell, and inflation remained in check

The war on poverty

The War on Poverty

  • The Economic Opportunity Act of 1954 was created to combat illiteracy, unemployment, and inadequate public services - $950 million.

  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) sent volunteers to help in poor communities.

Aid to education

Aid to Education

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided aid to states based on # of children from low-income homes.

  • ($1.3 billion to both public and private schools)

  • 1965 Head Start Programwas created to prepare economically disadvantaged preschoolers for school.

  • Today serves 11 million children under age five.

The great society

Medicare and medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid

  • Medicare provided hospital and low-cost medical insurance for most American age 65 and older.

  • Medicaid provided low-cost health insurance for poor Americans of any age.

  • Most important Social Welfare legislation since the passage of Social Security Act in 1935

  • Demonstrated government commitment to provide help to those Americans who needed it.

Immigration reform

Immigration Reform

  • Immigration Act of 1965 eliminated quotas for individual countries and replaced them with more flexible limits

  • 170,000 from Eastern Hemisphere

  • 120,000 from Western Hemisphere

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  • Family members of U.S. citizens exempt from quotas, as were political refugees.

  • 20,000 maximum from any one country

  • 1960’s 350,000 immigrants per year; 1970’s 400,000

Earl warren

Earl Warren

  • Law degree University of California at Berkley

  • District attorney, attorney General of California, Governor, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in 1948

  • Appointed Chief Justice of U.S. by President Eisenhower in 1953 served until retirement in 1969

Earl warren1

Earl Warren

The great society

  • Overturned many old laws to establish new legal precedents

  • (Brown v Board of Education, Connecticut law against birth control, prayer in public schools unconstitutional)

Criminal procedure

Criminal Procedure

  • Concerned to safeguard constitutional rights of individuals against power of state

  • 1961 Mapp v Ohio – evidence seized illegally could not be used in a trial

  • 1963 Gideon v. Wainwright – suspects in criminal cases who could not afford attorney were given free legal aid

The great society

The great society

  • 1964 Escobedo v Ilinois – accused must be given access to an attorney while being questioned

  • 1966 Miranda v Arizona – suspect must be warned of rights before being questioned = Miranda Rule

Congressional reapportionment

Congressional Reapportionment

  • Apportionment – distribution of a legislative body’s seats among electoral district’s

  • Most state governments had not redistributed districts to reflect population shifts.

  • Rural citizens were over-represented and urban citizens were under-represented.

  • 1962 Baker v Carr – declared congressional districts had to be apportioned “one person, one vote”.



The great society

  • Today each of the 435 seats in the House represents an average of 665,000 persons

  • 1964 Reynolds v Sims – not based on “one person, one vote” violated equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment

  • Many decisions were controversial.

  • People believed court had gone to far and hoped for more conservative judges.

Effects of the great society

Effects of the Great Society

  • At first very popular – New Programs raised expectations

  • Disillusionment followed when not all demands could be met.

  • Complained too many tax dollars spent on poor

  • Too much authority in hands of federal government

The great society

  • Number of people living in poverty cut in half during the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Some complained not enough money spent by government.

Exit slip

Exit Slip:

  • A major part of Johnson’s Great Society was….

  • Several of the decisions of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren focused on…

  • Critics of the Great Society complained that it…

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