Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson

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Lyndon Baines Johnson assumed office upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson

. Johnson designed the “Great Society” legislation upholding civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education, the arts, urban and rural development, public services, and his “War on Poverty”. He also escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, near Stonewall, Texas. He was the oldest of five children born to Samuel Ealy and Rebekah Baines Johnson, Jr.

Johnson was elected president of his 11th grade class, enjoyed public speaking, debating and playing baseball during this time. Upon graduating high school at fifteen, he moved to California where he picked grapes. In 1924, he enrolled in Southwest Texas State Teachers College {now Texas State University. He worked his way through school.

After teaching for a short time, he decided to enter politics. In 1930, he was involved in his first campaign. He soon became friends with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and others in the Democratic party.

In 1934, he met Claudia Alta Taylor, known as Lady Bird. He proposed on their first date, but she did not accept until ten weeks later. They were married on November 17, 1945 and had two daughters. ” Johnson gave his children names with the LBJ initials; his dog was Little Beagle Johnson. His was the LBJ Ranch; his initials were on his cuff links, ashtrays, and clothes.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

In 1935, he was appointed head of the Texas National Youth Administration.

In 1937, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Johnson was appointed a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve on June 21, 1940. After training he was sent to the South Pacific and answered to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. He was presented with the Silver Star and several other medals for surviving the crash of the B-26 bomber he was observing. He was released from active duty on July 17, 1942. While he was away serving, his wife ran his He was promoted to commander on October 19, 1949 . He resigned from the Navy Reserve effective January 18, 1964.

In 1949, he became a U.S. Senator. He worked his way up to the majority whip.

“A 60-cigarette-per-day smoker, Johnson suffered a near-fatal heart attack on July 2, 1955. He abruptly gave up smoking as a result, with only a couple of exceptions, and did not resume the habit until he left the White House on January 20, 1969.”

Johnson longed to run for president in 1960 and was John F. Kennedy’s strongest opponent. Kennedy offered him the Vice Presidency nomination. The Kennedy-Johnson ticket won and on January 20, 1961, Johnson took the oath as Vice President. This was a role he did not enjoy. He sought to increase his influence on the office of vice presidency and the Executive Branch, which President Kennedy turned down.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Many in the Kennedy administration were not supporters of Johnson, but President Kennedy strived to keep him informed and busy.

In November 1963, the Johnson’s accompanied the Kennedy’s to Texas for a political trip. They planned to host the Kennedy’s on their ranch before the trip ended.

On November 22, 1963, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were riding two cars behind the Kennedy’s when President Kennedy was assassinated.

Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president two hours after John F. Kennedy was declared dead. He was on-board Air Force One, surrounded by his wife and Jacqueline Kennedy.

He kept much of President Kennedy’s staff but often clashed with Kennedy’s brother, Robert, who eventually resigned.

He passed the Revenue Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, created the Job Corps, the Volunteers in Service to America and increased the United States involvement into Vietnam, which lead to a lot of protest.

Lyndon B. Johnson

In 1964, he ran for the presidency and won the election.

This term deal with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1865, federal funding for education, new transportation department, health care reform which created head start, food stamps and work study. He also saw the passing of social security and Medicare, which former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess Truman, were the first to receive benefits.

The Vietnam War occupied much of his presidency and led to riots and protest over the U.S. involvement.

In 1968, he debated running for a second term, but after much thought and the discouragement of his wife, decided not to seek reelection. That year, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were also both assassinated. The real reason he chose not to run is highly debated. Former Vice President {to President Eisenhower} Richard Nixon won the election.

“Johnson was often seen as a wildly ambitious, tireless, and imposing figure who was ruthlessly effective at getting legislation passed. He worked 18- to 20-hour days without break and was apparently absent of any leisure activities. “There was no more powerful majority leader in American history,” biographer Robert Dallek writes. Dallek stated that Johnson had biographies on all the Senators, knew what their ambitions, hopes, and tastes were and used it to his advantage in securing votes.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

By the time he left the presidency, Johnson was already experiencing health issues.

Upon leaving the White House in January 1969, he retired to his ranch in Stoneweall, Texas. He worked on his memoirs, which were published in 1971.

In 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum opened on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. He donated his Texas ranch in his will to the public to form the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, with the provision that the ranch “remain a working ranch and not become a sterile relic of the past”.

Upon leaving office, he spiraled into a very self-destructive downturn.

Lyndon B. Johnson died on January 22, 1973 at his ranch in Texas. At the time of his death, there were no former presidents living. The day after his death, President Nixon announced the peace agreement to end the Vietnam War.

Johnson was buried in his family cemetery, which is privately owned.

Lyndon B. Johnson

The state of Texas has a legal state holiday on his birthday. Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980.

His legacy is viewed for both his lack of success in the Vietnam War and his historic legislative achievements.




36th President of the United States
(November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969)Nickname: “LBJ”

Born: August 27, 1908, near Johnson City, Texas
Died: January 22, 1973, near Johnson City, Texas

Father: Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr.
Mother: Rebekah Baines Johnson
Married: Claudia “Lady Bird” Alta Taylor (1912-2007), on November 17, 1934
Children: Lynda Bird Johnson (1944- ); Luci Baines Johnson (1947- )

Religion: Disciples of Christ
Education: Graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (1930) (now known as Texas State University-San Marcos)
Occupation: Teacher, public official
Political Party: Democrat

  • Congressional Secretary, 1931-37
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1937-49
  • United States Senator, 1949-61
  • Vice President, 1961-63

Presidential Salary: $100,000/year + $50,000 expense account

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Vietnam War
The Assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King & Robert Kennedy
The Civil Rights Act

1908 Lyndon Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 near Stonewall, Texas

1934 Dust Bowl begins

1939 Germany invades Poland; World War II begins

1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor – U.S. enters World War II

1945 Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Germany and Japan surrender, ending World War II

1946 The Cold War began between the United States and the Soviet Union

1949 NATO formed

1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy gains power and start Communist witch hunts (1950-1954) – Korean War begins

1953 Armistice in Korea

1954 SEATO alliance

1955 Warsaw Pact

1956 US installs Diem as leader of South Vietnam

1957 Civil Rights Act of 1957 – Russians launch Sputnik

1958 NASA formed

1959 Cuban Revolution

1960 Greensboro sit-in – Civil Rights Act of 1960

1930 Educated at Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University), graduated 1930 then studied at Georgetown Law School

1934 Lyndon B. Johnson was married to Claudia Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson in 1934. They had 2 children

1931-37 Lyndon Johnson became Congressional Secretary, 1931-37

1937-49 Lyndon Johnson became Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1937-49

1949-61 Lyndon Johnson became United States Senator, 1949-61

1961-63 Lyndon Johnson became Vice President, 1961-63 (under Kennedy)

1963 1963 Lyndon Johnson became the President of the United States of America -Vietnam Conflict (1963 – 1969)

1964 Civil Rights Act (1964)

1965 Medicare and Medicaid (1965)

1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated (1968) – Robert Kennedy assassinated (1968)
Pueblo Incident – Capture of the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence ship, by North Korea (1968)

1969 1969 The Presidency of Lyndon Johnson ended

1969 Vietnam – Neil Armstrong walks on the moon

1972 Watergate burglary – Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with USSR

1973 Skylab first space station launched

1973 Lyndon B. Johnson died of heart failure on January 22, 1973 in Johnson City, Texas. He was buried at the LBJ Ranch.




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