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Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ. Getting the Job. Johnson was extremely persuasive. He had such energy when he was talking to people, and never let them get a word in edgewise – they called it getting the “LBJ Treatment.” He gained many connections in government from this.

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getting the job
Getting the Job
  • Johnson was extremely persuasive. He had such energy when he was talking to people, and never let them get a word in edgewise – they called it getting the “LBJ Treatment.” He gained many connections in government from this.
  • Kennedy saw LBJ as a perfect running mate for this reason, as well as the fact that LBJ was Protestant, had government experience, and was a proponent of Civil Rights.
kennedy s death
Kennedy’s Death
  • On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The event thrust Lyndon Johnson into the presidency. A man widely considered to be one of the most expert and brilliant politicians of his time, Johnson would leave office a little more than five years later as one of the least popular Presidents in American history.
taking over for kennedy
Taking over for Kennedy
  • After Kennedy’s death, Johnson’s 5th day in office – he met with Congress and stated, “All I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today.”
  • Johnson made it his duty to get two of Kennedy’s bills pushed through Congress – the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which allowed the government to enforce Civil Rights Laws, and the Tax Cut Bills, which cut our national debt by $2 billion dollars.
great society
Great Society
  • Johnson was passionate about making America the Great Society that it was meant to be – turning people’s lives around and making a difference. Specifically he strove to solve the problems of poverty in America and racial injustices that were still common and accepted.
election of 1964
Election of 1964
  • When Johnson had to run for election on his own in 1964, the majority of Americans believed that the government was responsible for solving our nation’s problems. Because of this, his opponent, Barry Goldwater, lost the election when he attacked government programs like Social Security and the TVA.
  • Johnson considered himself a “New Dealer”, and tried to continue what FDR had started.
voting rights
Voting Rights
  • Two of Johnston’s most important Civil Rights bills helped ensure that African-Americans had their voting rights protected.
    • The 1957 Civil Rights Act gave the federal government the power to help protect the voters
    • The 1965 Voting Rights Act eliminated literacy tests, and put federal examiners in place to register voters
  • Though Johnson had great aims for changing American society, America’s involvement in Vietnam, as well as unrest at home, would be more than he could handle
  • Vietnam -- perhaps the most divisive event in American life since the Civil War -- polarized the country and transformed political, strategic, and moral debates. President Johnson was unable to devise a strategy for victory, withdrawal, or peace with honor.
  • Johnson’s concern for looking “soft on Communism” took American troops thousands of miles away from home, in an attempt to support our French allies and prevent the “domino theory.”
  • The result was instead a country that was distrustful of its own government, a massive population of wounded veterans, and a communist Vietnam.
william westmoreland
William Westmoreland
  • Johnson was able to pit much of the blame for the events in Vietnam on the U.S. Commander there, General William Westmoreland.
  • The General’s insistence that he needed more troops created the massive escalation in troop size in Vietnam in the early years.
  • The governmental credibility gap is often blamed on Westmoreland’s strategy of “playing the numbers” to weaken the Vietcong’s defense.
  • Despite blaming Westmoreland, Johnson’s career plummeted due to Vietnam.
unrest at home
Unrest at Home
  • While the war in Vietnam was raging – America was reeling at home.
  • In April of 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, leading to nationwide race riots.
  • In June of 1968, the leading Democratic nominee for President, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, was also assassinated.
  • In addition to race riots, America was still dealing with poverty issues – leading to massive strikes.
  • Cesar Chavez, a California farm worker, organized Latino farm workers who worked back-breaking jobs for very low pay. Like MLK, Jr., Chavez believed in non-violence. He convinced grocers to boycott farm goods, and even went on a hunger strike to get better wages for farm workers. His tactics also worked in creating a great deal of racial pride in the Latino communities.
  • While the war in Vietnam raged, and race riots spread across the nation, a new counter-culture movement emerged – the “Hippie” movement.
  • Hippies were mostly white, middle-class, college students who were disillusioned with the government and Vietnam. They chose to search instead for peace and a carefree lifestyle.
  • Women, also, started feeling the dissatisfaction of the middle-class house wife role that they had been locked into.
  • Betty Friedan, an average housewife, wrote a book called the Feminine Mystique about how women struggled with this version of the American dream. This book signaled the beginning of the women’s movement in America.
his legacy
His Legacy
  • Elected in his own right by a landslide victory in 1964, he seemed unsinkable, but floundered amid the Vietnam War. In 1968, facing strong opposition to his re-nomination, Johnson declined to seek a second term. He left to his successor the problems of Vietnam, racial unrest, and unresolved issues of income inequality and erratic economic performance.He died four years later, a few hundred feet from the place of his birth.