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Lyndon Johnson - 36th President of the United States


Lyndon Baines Johnsion takes Presidential Oath of Office. Jay Gildner, Judge Sarah Hughes, Jack Valenti, Congressman Albert Thomas, Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, Congressman Jack Brooks, others. Aboard Air Force One., 11/22/1963  (National Archives)
Lyndon Baines Johnsion takes Presidential Oath of Office. Jay Gildner, Judge Sarah Hughes, Jack Valenti, Congressman Albert Thomas, Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, Congressman Jack Brooks, others. Aboard Air Force One., 11/22/1963 (National Archives)


Lyndon Baines Johnson, 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 (JFK). His was a tragic presidency because he brought to the office enormous political skills and high ideals but was brought down by a few glaring flaws.

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.

The early years of his presidency were noteworthy for social reforms such as the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

He had a visceral 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.

 
Photographs of President Lyndon Johnson

Honolulu Conference: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky (South Vietnam), President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam) Photo taken  02/08/1966. (National Archives)
Honolulu Conference: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky (South Vietnam), President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam) Photo taken 02/08/1966.


General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson at Cam Ranh Bay.  Photo taken  12/23/1967. (National Archives)
General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson at Cam Ranh Bay. Photo taken 12/23/1967.


Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Vietnam...President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, Addresses U.S. Troops During a visit to Cam Ranh Bay. Attending the ceremony are Rear Admiral Kenneth L. Veth, U.S. Navy (second from left), commander U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam; General William C. Westmoreland, USA (second row, second from right), commander U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the Honorable Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam. Photo taken  12/23/1967. (National Archives)

Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Vietnam...President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, Addresses U.S. Troops During a visit to Cam Ranh Bay. Attending the ceremony are Rear Admiral Kenneth L. Veth, U.S. Navy (second from left), commander U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam; General William C. Westmoreland, USA (second row, second from right), commander U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the Honorable Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam. Photo taken 12/23/1967.

 
Quick Facts about President Lyndon Johnson

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


 
To learn more - use these online Internet resources

  • The American President: Lyndon B. Johnson - Fact file and comprehensive biographical sketch based on PBS series. Also includes gallery and quotations.
  • Character Above All - Excerpt from an essay by Robert Dallek reflects on the issues and events that molded Lyndon B. Johnson. From PBS.
  • Great Society speech - Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society speech delivered May 22, 1964.
  • Inaugural Address 1965 - Complete text of LBJ's speech on January 20, 1965. Includes background information.
  • LBJ Goes for Broke - Smithsonian magazine offers excerpt from Caro's Master of the Senate book. Chronicles Johnson's 1957 attempt to pass the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
  • LBJ in the Oval Office - Listen to some of LBJ's most important speeches and peer into the Oval Office through secretly recorded conversations made by Johnson during his presidency.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson - Short biography from the official White House site.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson - Brief biography from the Lucidcafé Library.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson - General biography of LBJ also includes links to transcripts of his State of the Union addresses.
  • Lyndon Johnson: A Brief Biography - Examines the life of Lyndon Johnson including his early career, presidency, and retirement.
  • Master of the Senate - First Chapter - The first chapter of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson in the April 28, 2002 edition of the New York Times. Free registration required.
  • POTUS: Lyndon Baines Johnson - Background information, election results, cabinet members, and links.
  • President Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum - Includes photo and audio archives, telephone recordings, transcripts of oral history interviews, Johnson's daily diary, answers to FAQ, and virtual exhibits.
  • Renunciation speech - Lyndon Baines Johnson announces he will not seek another term of office in this March, 1968 speech.


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