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Lyndon B. Johnson (1908)

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  Summary  

Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908– January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969), a position he assumed after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States (1961–1963). He is one of only four people who served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President and President.

Johnson, a Democrat, served as a United States Representative from Texas, from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator from 1949–1961, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader, two as Senate Minority Leader and two as Senate Majority Whip. After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, Johnson was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his running mate for the 1960 presidential election.

Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was greatly supported by the Democratic Party and, as President, was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, Public Broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his "War on Poverty." He was renowned for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment," his coercion of powerful politicians in order to advance legislation.

Johnson escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War, from 16,000 American advisors/soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 combat troops in early 1968, as American casualties soared and the peace process bogged down. The involvement stimulated a large angry antiwar movement based especially on university campuses in the U.S. and abroad. Summer riots broke out in most major cities after 1965, and crime rates soared, as his opponents raised demands for "law and order" policies. The Democratic Party split in multiple feuding factions, and after Johnson did poorly in the 1968 New Hampshire primary he ended his bid for reelection. Republican Richard M. Nixon was elected to replace him. Historians argue that his presidency marked the peak of Modern liberalism in the United States after the New Deal era.

Johnson is ranked favorably by some historians because of his domestic policies.

  Biography  

 early years
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas, on August 27, 1908, in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River. His parents, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines, had three girls and two boys: Johnson and his brother, Sam Houston Johnson (1914–1978), and sisters Rebekah (1910–1978), Josefa (1912–1961), and Lucia (1916–1997). The nearby small town of Johnson City, Texas was named after Johnson's father's cousin, James Polk Johnson, whose forebears had moved west from Georgia. The Johnsons were of Scots-Irish and English ancestry. In school, Johnson was an awkward, talkative youth and was elected president of his 11th-grade class. He graduated from Johnson City High School in 1924 having participated in public speaking, debate, and baseball.

Johnson was maternally descended from a pioneer Baptist clergyman, George Washington Baines, who pastored some eight churches in Texas as well as others in Arkansas and Louisiana. Baines was also the president of Baylor University during the American Civil War. George Baines was the grandfather of Johnson's mother, Rebekah Baines Johnson (1881–1958).

Johnson's grandfather Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr. was raised as a Baptist. Subsequently, in his early adulthood, he became a member of the Christian Church . In his later years the grandfather became a Christadelphian; Johnson's father also joined the Christadelphian Church toward the end of his life. Later, as a politician, Johnson was influenced in his positive attitude towards Jews by the religious beliefs that his family, especially his grandfather, had shared with him .

In 1926, Johnson enrolled in Southwest Texas State Teachers' College (now Texas State University-San Marcos). He worked his way through school, participated in debate and campus politics, and edited the school newspaper called The College Star, now known as The University Star. He dropped out of school in 1927 and returned one year later, graduating in 1930. The college years refined his skills of persuasion and political organization. In 1927 Johnson taught mostly Mexican children at the Welhausen School in Cotulla, some ninety miles south of San Antonio in La Salle County. In 1930 he taught in Pearsall High School in Pearsall, Texas, and afterwards took a position as teacher of public speaking at Sam Houston High School in Houston. When he returned to San Marcos in 1965, after having signed the Higher Education Act of 1965, Johnson looked back:

"I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American."

 legacy
The Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, and Texas created a legal state holiday to be observed on August 27 to mark Johnson's birthday. It is known as Lyndon Baines Johnson Day. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac was dedicated on September 27, 1974.

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs was named in his honor, as is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland.

Interstate 635 in Dallas is named the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway.

Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980.

On March 23, 2007, President George W. Bush signed legislation naming the United States Department of Education headquarters after President Johnson.

Runway 17R/35L at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Runway.

2008 was the celebration of the Johnson Centennial featuring special programs, events, and parties across Texas and in Washington, D.C. Johnson would have been 100 years old on August 27, 2008.

The student center at Texas State University is named after the former president.

 Major legislation signed
  • 1963: Clean Air Act of 1963
  • 1963: Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963
  • 1963: Vocational Education Act of 1963
  • 1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • 1964: Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
  • 1964: Wilderness Act
  • 1964: Nurse Training Act of 1964
  • 1964: Food Stamp Act of 1964
  • 1964: Economic Opportunity Act
  • 1964: Housing Act of 1964
  • 1965: Higher Education Act of 1965
  • 1965: Older Americans Act
  • 1965: Social Security Act of 1965
  • 1965: Voting Rights Act
  • 1965: Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965
  • 1966: Freedom of Information Act
  • 1967: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • 1967: Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
  • 1968: Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
  • 1968: Bilingual Education Act
  • 1968: Civil Rights Act of 1968
  • 1968: Gun Control Act of 1968

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Lyndon B. Johnson", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.