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Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson
Order:36th President
Term of Office:November 22, 1963 - January 20, 1969
Followed:John F. Kennedy
Succeeded by:Richard Nixon
Date of BirthThursday, August 27, 1908
Place of Birth:Gillespie County, Texas
Date of Death:Monday, January 22, 1973
Place of Death:Johnson City, Texas
First Lady:Claudia Alta Taylor ("Lady Bird")
Political Party:Democrat
Vice President:Hubert H. Humphrey

Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 - January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th (1963-1969) President of the United States. He took office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He brought to the office enormous political skills and high ideals but was brought down by a few glaring flaws.

Johnson was Congressman for the 10th Texas district from 1937 to 1948, a Texas Senator from 1948-1960, Senate Minority leader from 1952-1955, and Senate Majority Leader from 1955-1960. In 1960 he ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination. He was defeated by JFK, but won the vice presidency on Kennedy's ticket.

Johnson had huge ambition and mostly high ideals, combined with a more thorough knowledge of how to get legislation through the U.S. Congress than any president has ever had. He had no hobbies, and other than his own immediate family, no real interests outside politics [XXX - what about ranching?].

Although LBJ was unusually progressive for a Texas politician, he had a close relationship with the oil industry and other Texas businesses, such as the construction firm Brown and Root[?]. His connections and political career also earned him enormous wealth, including a radio and television network which was held and managed by his wife. After having lost a Senate primary to ballot-stuffing in 1941, Johnson employed the same tactics in his succesful 1948 nomination campaign.

After Kennedy's assassination, Johnson served out the remainder of the term in manner he felt was consistent with Kennedy's agenda. He convinced Kennedy's cabinet to serve out the rest of the term, including Robert Kennedy (despite the acrimonious relationship between Johnson and Kennedy). He also used his considerable political savvy to ensure passage the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These actions allowed Johnson to easily win the 1964 presidential election.

The beginning of his first full term of his presidency were noteworthy for social reforms packaged as the Great Society, notably the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He had a distaste for the American war effort in Vietnam, which he had inherited from John Kennedy. But Johnson believed that America could not afford to look weak in the eyes of the world, and so he escalated the war effort continuously from 1965-1968, which resulted in thousands of American deaths and perhaps ten times the number of deaths in Vietnam. Still, America could not control what was happening in Vietnam. In later years, Johnson's presidency was dominated by the Vietnam War. As more and more American soldiers died in Vietnam, Johnson's popularity declined, particularly in the face of student protests ("Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?").

As a result, in March of 1968, LBJ announced he would not seek re-election, and he retired from public life at the end of his term. He died four years later.

Lyndon Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy

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Preceded by:
John F. Kennedy
Presidents of the United States Succeeded by:
Richard Nixon

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