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Chapter 48. Johnson’s Great Society: Reform, War, Disgrace 1961–1968. LBJ. Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Sharp contrast to JFK LBJ folksy, middle class LBJ product of New deal LBJ Senate majority leader by 1955 LBJ expert at manipulating Congress LBJ uses charm, cuts deals, twists arms

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chapter 48

Chapter 48

Johnson’s Great Society:

Reform, War, Disgrace


  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ)
    • Sharp contrast to JFK
    • LBJ folksy, middle class
    • LBJ product of New deal
    • LBJ Senate majority leader by 1955
    • LBJ expert at manipulating Congress
    • LBJ uses charm, cuts deals, twists arms
    • LBJ pushes through New Frontier bills
    • LBJ cuts taxes $10 billion
  • LBJ signs Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Civil Rights Act ends segregation
    • Fair Employment Practices Commission
    • Civil Rights Act improves race relations in South
  • LBJ calls program Great Society
    • Democrats become defenders of “victimized”
    • Democrats party of white middle class liberals
    • Women’s Liberation Movement burns bras
  • John Birch Society
    • Virulently anti-Communist
    • Conspiratorial
    • Felt forces of righteousness
    • Force within Republican party
    • Barry Goldwater was extreme conservative
  • Election of 1964
    • LBJ wins 61% of popular vote
    • Nation still grieves for Kennedy
    • Many fear Republican candidate Barry Goldwater
    • Goldwater seen as right-wing extremist
the great society
The Great Society
  • Domestic Program
    • LBJ continues New Deal programs
    • War on poverty: Job Corps, Head Start
    • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Medicare
    • Aid to schools, grants and loans to students
    • National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities
  • Critics
    • Conservatives claim trying to solve problems with money
    • Some programs not good oversight or management
    • Created white working class backlash
vietnam vietnam
Vietnam! Vietnam!
  • Ho Chi Minh Communist nationalist
    • Ho declares Vietnam independent after WWII
    • French fight to regain Vietnam with U.S. aid
    • U.S. refused to sign Geneva accords, 1954
    • U.S. backs Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam
    • Diem oppressive, unpopular
    • U.S. provides Diem financial aid
    • NLF (Viet Cong) organize against Diem
  • Kennedy sends troops to Vietnam
    • Kennedy withdraws support to Diem
    • Diem assassinated; political chaos follows
mr johnson s war
Mr. Johnson’s War
  • U.S., increased presence in Vietnam, 1964
    • LBJ offers aid to North Vietnam for peace talks
    • Ho refuses to speak for NLF
    • NLF refuses to negotiate unless U.S. withdraws troops
  • LBJ accepts domino theory
    • LBJ fears South Vietnam becoming Communist
    • Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    • LBJ uses Resolution to escalate war
mr johnson s war cont d
Mr. Johnson’s War (cont.’d)
    • War escalates
    • 500,000 troops in Vietnam by 1967
    • U.S. bombs North Vietnam, sprays defoliants
    • U.S. tries to initiate peace talks
    • North Vietnam just escalates in return
  • Tet Offensive
    • U.S. military promises peace
    • Enemy makes big gains in Tet Offensive
    • U.S. quickly regains territory
    • Tet Offensive destroys public support for war
troubled years
Troubled Years
  • LBJ craves consensus, unity
  • American people extremely divided
  • Hawks and Doves
    • Hawks say LBJ too cautious with war
    • Doves are anti-war, liberal Democrats
    • Increasing anti-war demonstrations
    • More young dodge draft
  • Anti-war movement
    • No unifying ideology
    • Some protestors radicals, some pacifists
    • Some believe war undemocratic
    • Some believe it hurts diplomacy
troubled years cont d
Troubled Years (cont.’d)
  • Student movement
    • Widespread discontent among college students
    • Students for a Democratic Society
    • Groups push for greater democracy, aid to poor,etc.
    • Free Speech Movement, 1964 at Berkeley
  • Counterculture
    • New way of life based on “love”
    • Includes promiscuous sex, drugs, wild fashions
    • “Hippies” try communes, acid rock
    • Favor individual self-gratification
election of 1968
Election of 1968
  • Eugene McCarthy
    • LBJ can run for reelection
    • McCarthy announces candidacy
    • McCarthy attacks LBJ’s war policy
  • Johnson retires
    • Students go “clean for Gene”
    • Johnson knows he lacks support over war
    • Johnson announces retirement
election of 1968 cont d
Election of 1968 (cont.’d)
  • Hubert Humphrey runs for Democratic nomination
    • Robert Kennedy runs for Democratic nomination
    • Sirhan Sirhan assassinates Kennedy
    • Humphrey gains nomination
  • Republicans run Richard Nixon
    • Democrats divided
    • George Wallace runs on segregationist ticket
    • Wallace hopes to throw election into House
    • Nixon refuses to stand with Humphrey against Wallace tactics
    • Nixon wins by narrow margin
discussion questions
Discussion Questions
  • What is meant by the “Great Society”? How did it change America in LBJ’s time? Are they elements still in society today?
  • What was LBJ’s Vietnam policy? How successful was it? How did it affect his presidency?
  • Examine the counterculture movement of the 1960s. How does it connect with drugs, the New Left, hippies, and the anti-war movement?
  • Discuss the 1968 election and the impact of Hawks and Doves.