Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States (1908 - 1973) MP

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Nicknames: "LBJ"
Birthplace: Stonewall, TX, United States
Death: Died in Stonewall, TX, United States
Cause of death: his third heart attack & he had severe heart disease
Occupation: United States President, Vice President, United States House of Representative, U S Senator, teacher, 36th President
Managed by: Dorothy Marie Willard
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States

The thirty-sixth President of the United States (1963–1969) and thirty-seventh Vice President of the United States (1961–1963). A Democrat, Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and after completing Kennedy's term was elected President in his own right in a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included civil rights laws, Medicare (government-funded health care for the elderly), Medicaid (government-funded health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Simultaneously, he escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 in early 1968. Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator (as his grandfather[1] foretold when LBJ was just an infant) 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 selected by John F. Kennedy to be his running-mate for the 1960 presidential election. Johnson's popularity as President steadily declined after the 1966 Congressional elections, and his reelection bid in the 1968 United States presidential election collapsed as a result of turmoil within the Democratic party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race to concentrate on peacemaking. Johnson was renowned for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment," his arm-twisting of powerful politicians. 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. 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 (Disciples of Christ). In his later years he became a Christadelphian.[2] According to Lady Bird Johnson, Johnson's father also joined the Christadelphian Church toward the end of his life.[3] Later, as a politician LBJ was influenced in his attitude towards the Jews by the religious beliefs that his family, especially his grandfather, had shared with him Johnson briefly taught public speaking and debate in a Houston high school, then entered politics. Johnson's father had served five terms in the Texas legislature and was a close friend to one of Texas's rising political figures, Congressman Sam Rayburn. In 1930, Johnson campaigned for Texas State Senator Welly Hopkins in his run for Congress. Hopkins recommended him to Congressman Richard M. Kleberg, who appointed Johnson as Kleberg's legislative secretary. LBJ was elected speaker of the "Little Congress," a group of Congressional aides, where he cultivated Congressmen, newspapermen and lobbyists. Johnson's friends soon included aides to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as fellow Texans such as Vice President John Nance Garner. He became a surrogate son to Sam Rayburn.

-------------------- Lyndon Baines Johnson is Dorothy Willard's 9th cousin four times removed. Dorothy Willard→Onad Duncan your mother→Edith Davis her mother→Albert Dewitt Worley her father→Alanson Dewitt Worley his father→Judith S Worley his mother→ Daniel Law her father→Sarah Law his mother→Abner Cockerham her father→ Sarah Sally Cockerham his mother→Elizabeth Hamblen her mother→John Watkins her father→John Watkins his father→Henry Watkins his father→Elizabeth Bottom his sister →Thomas Bottom her son→Francis Estes his daughter→Dice Kirby her daughter→ George Kirby her son→Dicea Perrin his daughter→Mary Elizabeth Huffman her daughter →Ruth Ament Baines her daughter→Rebekah Johnson her daughter→Lyndon Baines Johnson her son.

The 36th President of the United States (1963–1969) and 35th Vice President of the United States (1961–1963). Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right in a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included civil rights laws, Medicare (government-funded health care for the elderly), Medicaid (government-funded health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Simultaneously, he escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 500,000 in early 1968.

Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas, from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator (as his grandfather[1] foretold when LBJ was just an infant) 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 selected by John F. Kennedy to be his running-mate for the 1960 presidential election. Johnson's popularity as President steadily declined after the 1966 Congressional elections, and his reelection bid in the 1968 United States presidential election collapsed as a result of turmoil within the Democratic party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race to concentrate on peacemaking. Johnson was renowned for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment," his arm-twisting of powerful politicians. In 1937 Johnson successfully contested a special election for Texas's 10th congressional district, which covered Austin and the surrounding hill country. He ran on a New Deal platform and was effectively aided by his wife. He served in the House from April 10, 1937 to January 3, 1949.[12]

President Roosevelt found Johnson to be a welcome ally and conduit for information, particularly with regards to issues concerning internal politics in Texas (Operation Texas) and the machinations of Vice President Garner and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Johnson was immediately appointed to the Naval Affairs Committee. He worked for rural electrification and other improvements for his district. Johnson steered the projects towards contractors that he personally knew, such as the Brown Brothers, Herman and George, who would finance much of Johnson's future career.[13] In 1941, he ran for the U.S. Senate in a special election against the sitting Governor of Texas, radio personality W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel in an election marked by massive fraud on the part of both campaigns. Johnson was not expected to win against the popular governor, but he ran a strong race and was declared the winner in unofficial returns — ultimately losing due to controversial official returns. After America entered the war in December 1941, Johnson, still in Congress, became a commissioned officer in the Navy Reserves, then asked Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal for a combat assignment.[14] Instead he was sent to inspect the shipyard facilities in Texas and on the West Coast. In the spring of 1942, President Roosevelt needed his own reports on what conditions were like in the Southwest Pacific. Roosevelt felt information that flowed up the military chain of command needed to be supplemented by a highly trusted political aide. From a suggestion by Forrestal, President Roosevelt assigned Johnson to a three-man survey team of the Southwest Pacific.

Johnson reported to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. Johnson and two Army officers went to the 22nd Bomb Group base, which was assigned the high risk mission of bombing the Japanese airbase at Lae in New Guinea. A colonel took Johnson's original seat on one bomber, and it was shot down with no survivors. Reports vary on what happened to the B-26 Marauder carrying Johnson. Some accounts say it was also attacked by Japanese fighters but survived, while others, including other members of the flight crew, claim it turned back due to generator trouble before reaching the objective and before encountering enemy aircraft and never came under fire, which is supported by official flight records.[15] Other airplanes that continued to the target did come under fire near the target at about the same time that Johnson's plane was recorded as having landed back at the original airbase.[15] MacArthur awarded LBJ the Silver Star, the military's third-highest medal, although it is notable that no other members of the flight crew were awarded medals, and it is unclear what Johnson could have done in his role purely as an "observer" to deserve the medal, even if his aircraft had seen combat.

-------------------- Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the thirty-sixth President of the United States, serving from 1963-1969. A Democrat, Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and after completing Kennedy's term was elected President in his own right in a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included civil rights laws, Medicare (government funded health care for the elderly), Medicaid (government funded health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Simultaneously, he escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 in early 1968.

Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator [just as his grandfather[1] fortold when LBJ was just an infant] from 1949–1960, 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 selected by John F. Kennedy to be his running-mate for the 1960 presidential election. Johnson's popularity as President steadily declined after the 1966 Congressional elections, and his reelection bid in the 1968 United States presidential election collapsed as a result of turmoil within the Democratic party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race to concentrate on peacemaking. Johnson was renowned for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment," his arm-twisting of powerful politicians.

Johnson died after suffering his third heart attack, on January 22, 1973.

Early years

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.

The President's grandfather Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr. was raised as a Baptist. Subsequently, in his early manhood, he became a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In his later years he became a Christadelphian.[2] According to Lady Bird Johnson, President Johnson's father also joined the Christadelphian Church toward the end of his life.[3] Later, as a politician LBJ was influenced in his attitude towards the Jews by the religious beliefs that his family, especially his grandfather, had shared with him (see Operation Texas).[2][4]

Johnson was born near Stonewall, Texas, on August 27, 1908, in a small farmhouse in a poor area on the Pedernales River. His parents, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and the former Rebekah Baines, had three girls and two boys: LBJ 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 LBJ's father's cousin, James Polk Johnson, whose forebears had moved west from Georgia. In school, Johnson was an awkward, talkative youth and was elected president of his eleventh-grade class. He graduated from Johnson City High School in 1924.[5] In 1925, he worked as an elevator operator in downtown San Bernardino, California.[6][7]

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, edited the school newspaper, 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.[8] When he returned to San Marcos in 1965, after having signed the Higher Education Act, 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."[9]

[edit] Early political career

Johnson briefly taught public speaking and debate in a Houston high school, then entered politics. Johnson's father had served five terms in the Texas legislature and was a close friend to one of Texas's rising political figures, Congressman Sam Rayburn. In 1930, Johnson campaigned for Texas State Senator Welly Hopkins in his run for Congress. Hopkins recommended him to Congressman Richard M. Kleberg, who appointed Johnson as Kleberg's legislative secretary. LBJ was elected speaker of the "Little Congress," a group of Congressional aides, where he cultivated Congressmen, newspapermen and lobbyists. Johnson's friends soon included aides to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as fellow Texans such as Vice President John Nance Garner. He became a surrogate son to Sam Rayburn. President Roosevelt, Governor James Allred of Texas & Johnson. In later campaigns, Johnson edited Governor Allred out of the picture to assist his campaign President Roosevelt, Governor James Allred of Texas & Johnson. In later campaigns, Johnson edited Governor Allred out of the picture to assist his campaign

Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor (already nicknamed "Lady Bird") of Karnack, Texas on November 17, 1934 after having attended Georgetown University Law School for several months. They had two daughters, Lynda Bird, born in 1944, and Luci Baines, born in 1947. Johnson enjoyed giving people and animals his own initials; his daughters' given names are examples, as was his dog, Little Beagle Johnson.

In 1935, he was appointed head of the Texas National Youth Administration, which enabled him to use the government to create education and job opportunities for young people. He resigned two years later to run for Congress. Johnson was a notoriously tough boss throughout his career, often demanding long workdays and work on weekends, and Johnson himself worked as hard as any member of his staff.[10]

[edit] House years

In 1937 Johnson successfully contested a special election for Texas's 10th congressional district, which covered Austin and the surrounding hill country. He ran on a New Deal platform and was aided effectively by his wife. He served in the House from April 10, 1937 to January 3, 1949[11].

President Roosevelt found Johnson to be a welcome ally and conduit for information, particularly with regards to issues concerning internal politics in Texas (Operation Texas) and the machinations of Vice President Garner and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Johnson was immediately appointed to the Naval Affairs Committee. He worked for rural electrification and other improvements for his district. Johnson steered the projects towards contractors that he personally knew, such as the Brown Brothers, Herman and George, who would finance much of Johnson's future career.[12] In 1941, he ran for the U.S. Senate in a special election against the sitting Governor of Texas, radio personality W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel in an election marked by massive fraud on the part of both campaigns. Johnson was not expected to win against the popular governor, but he ran a strong race and was declared the winner in unofficial returns - ultimately losing due to controversial official returns.

[edit] War record

After America entered the war in December 1941, Johnson, still in Congress, became a commissioned officer in the Navy Reserves, then asked Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal for a combat assignment.[13] Instead he was sent to inspect the shipyard facilities in Texas and on the West Coast. In the spring of 1942, President Roosevelt needed his own reports on what conditions were like in the Southwest Pacific. Roosevelt felt information that flowed up the military chain of command needed to be supplemented by a highly trusted political aide. From a suggestion by Forrestal, President Roosevelt assigned Johnson to a three-man survey team of the Southwest Pacific.

Johnson reported to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. Johnson and two Army officers went to the 22nd Bomb Group base, which was assigned the high risk mission of bombing the Japanese airbase at Lae in New Guinea. A colonel took Johnson's original seat on one bomber, and it was shot down with no survivors. Reports vary on what happened to the B-26 Marauder carrying Johnson. Some accounts say it was also attacked by Japanese fighters but survived, while others, including other members of the flight crew, claim it turned back due to generator trouble before reaching the objective and before encountering enemy aircraft and never came under fire, which is supported by official flight records.[14] Other airplanes that continued to the target did come under fire near the target at about the same time that Johnson's plane was recorded as having landed back at the original airbase.[14] MacArthur awarded LBJ the Silver Star, the military's third-highest medal, although it is notable that no other members of the flight crew were awarded medals, and it is unclear what Johnson could have done in his role purely as an "observer" to deserve the medal, even if his aircraft had seen combat.

Johnson's biographer, Robert Caro, stated, "The most you can say about Lyndon Johnson and his Silver Star is that it is surely one of the most undeserved Silver Stars in history. Because if you accept everything that he said, he was still in action for no more than 13 minutes and only as an observer. Men who flew many missions, brave men, never got a Silver Star."[14]

Johnson reported back to Roosevelt, to the Navy leaders, and to Congress that conditions were deplorable and unacceptable. He argued the South West Pacific urgently needed a higher priority and a larger share of war supplies. The warplanes sent there, for example, were "far inferior" to Japanese planes, and morale was bad. He told Forrestal that the Pacific Fleet had a "critical" need for 6,800 additional experienced men. Johnson prepared a twelve-point program to upgrade the effort in the region, stressing "greater cooperation and coordination within the various commands and between the different war theaters." Congress responded by making Johnson chairman of a high-powered subcommittee of the Naval Affairs committee. With a mission similar to that of the Truman Committee in the Senate, he probed into the peacetime "business as usual" inefficiencies that permeated the naval war and demanded that admirals shape up and get the job done. However, Johnson went too far when he proposed a bill that would crack down on the draft exemptions of shipyard workers if they were absent from work too often. Organized labor blocked the bill and denounced Johnson. Still, Johnson's mission had a substantial impact because it led to upgrading the South Pacific theater and aided the overall war effort immensely. Johnson’s biographer concludes, "The mission was a temporary exposure to danger calculated to satisfy Johnson's personal and political wishes, but it also represented a genuine effort on his part, however misplaced, to improve the lot of America's fighting men."[15]

[edit] Senate years

[edit] 1948 contested election

In 1948, Johnson again ran for the Senate and won. This election was highly controversial: a three-way Democratic Party primary saw Johnson facing a well-known former governor, Coke Stevenson, and a third candidate. Johnson drew crowds to fairgrounds with his rented helicopter dubbed "The Flying Windmill". He raised money to flood the state with campaign circulars, and won over conservatives by voting for the Taft-Hartley act curbing unions and by criticizing unions on the stump. Stevenson came in first, but lacked a majority, so a runoff was held. Johnson campaigned even harder, while Stevenson's efforts were poor. The runoff count took a week as the two candidates see-sawed for the lead. The Democratic State Central Committee handled the count (not the state, because it was a party primary), and it finally announced Johnson won by eighty-seven votes. The committee voted 29-28 to certify Johnson's nomination, with the last vote cast on Johnson's behalf by the Temple publisher Frank W. Mayborn, who rushed back to Texas from a business trip in Nashville, Tennessee. There were many allegations of fraud on both sides. Thus one writer alleges that Johnson's campaign manager, John B. Connally, was connected with 202 ballots in Precinct 13 in Jim Wells County that had curiously been cast in alphabetical order and all just at the close of polling. Robert Caro argued in his 1989 book that Johnson had rigged the election in Jim Wells County, and other counties in South Texas, as well as rigging 10,000 ballots in Bexar County alone.[16]

However, the state Democratic convention upheld Johnson. Stevenson went to court, but — with timely help from his friend Abe Fortas — Johnson prevailed. Johnson was elected senator in November, and went to Washington, D.C. tagged with the ironic label "Landslide Lyndon," which he often used deprecatingly to refer to himself.

[edit] Freshman Senator

Once in the Senate, Johnson was known among his colleagues for his highly successful "courtships" of older senators, especially Senator Richard Russell, patrician leader of the Conservative coalition and arguably the most powerful man in the Senate. Johnson proceeded to gain Russell's favor in the same way that he had "courted" Speaker Sam Rayburn and gained his crucial support in the House.

Johnson was appointed to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and later in 1950, he helped create the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee. Johnson became its chairman and conducted investigations of defense costs and efficiency. These investigations tended to dig out old forgotten investigations and demand actions that were already being taken by the Truman Administration, although it can be said that the committee's investigations caused the changes. However, Johnson's brilliant handling of the press, the efficiency with which his committee issued new reports, and the fact that he ensured every report was endorsed unanimously by the committee all brought him headlines and national attention.

In 1951 Johnson was chosen as Senate Majority Whip under a new Majority Leader, Ernest McFarland of Arizona, and served from 1951 to 1953[11].

[edit] Senate Democratic leader

In the 1952 general election Republicans won a majority in both House and Senate. Among defeated Democrats that year was McFarland, who lost to then-little known Barry Goldwater, Johnson's future presidential opponent.

In January 1953, Johnson was chosen by his fellow Democrats to be the minority leader. Thus, he became the least senior Senator ever elected to this position, and one of the least senior party leaders in the history of the Senate. The whip is usually first in line to replace party leader (e.g., most recently whip Harry Reid became Senate Minority Leader after Tom Daschle's defeat).

He had a big mole on his cheek and surgically removed itOne of his first actions was to eliminate the seniority system in appointment to a committee, while retaining it in terms of chairmanships. In the 1954 election, Johnson was re-elected to the Senate, and since the Democrats won the majority in the Senate, Johnson became majority leader. LBJ's duties were to schedule legislation and help pass measures favored by the Democrats. He, Rayburn and President Dwight D. Eisenhower worked smoothly together in passing Eisenhower's domestic and foreign agenda. As Majority Leader, Johnson was responsible for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation passed by the Senate since Reconstruction. Johnson gives "The Treatment" to 90-year-old Rhode Island Senator Theodore F. Green in 1957 Johnson gives "The Treatment" to 90-year-old Rhode Island Senator Theodore F. Green in 1957

Historians Caro and Dallek consider Lyndon Johnson the most effective Senate majority leader in history. He was unusually proficient at gathering information. One biographer suggests he was "the greatest intelligence gatherer Washington has ever known", discovering exactly where every Senator stood, his philosophy and prejudices, his strengths and weaknesses, and what it took to win him over.[17] Robert Baker claimed that Johnson would occasionally send senators on NATO trips in order to avoid their dissenting votes [18]. Central to Johnson's control was "The Treatment",[19] described by two journalists:[20]

   The Treatment could last ten minutes or four hours. It came, enveloping its target, at the LBJ Ranch swimming pool, in one of LBJ's offices, in the Senate cloakroom, on the floor of the Senate itself — wherever Johnson might find a fellow Senator within his reach.
   Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint and the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.

[edit] Vice Presidency

   Main article: United States presidential election, 1960

Johnson's success in the Senate made him a possible Democratic presidential candidate. He was the "favorite son" candidate of the Texas delegation at the Party's national convention in 1956. In 1960, after the failure of the "Stop Kennedy" coalition he had formed with Adlai Stevenson, Stuart Symington, and Hubert Humphrey, Johnson received 409 votes on the first and only ballot at the Democratic convention, which nominated John F. Kennedy.

Tip O'Neill, then a representative from Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts, recalled that Johnson approached him at the convention and said, "Tip, I'd like to have you with me on the second ballot." O'Neill, understanding the influence of the Kennedy name, replied, "Senator, there's not going to be any second ballot."[21]

During the convention, Kennedy designated Johnson as his choice for Vice President. Some later reports (such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.'s) say that Kennedy offered the position to Johnson as a courtesy and did not expect him to accept. Others (such as W. Marvin Watson) say that the Kennedy campaign was desperate to win the 1960 election against Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and needed Johnson on the ticket to help carry Southern states.

According to other sources, Kennedy did not want Johnson to be his running-mate and Vice President, and did not even want to ask him. JFK's reported choice was Symington. Johnson, however, decided to seek the Vice Presidency and with Speaker Rayburn's help pressured Kennedy to give him a spot[22].

At the same time as his Vice Presidential run, Johnson also sought a third term in the U.S. Senate. According to Robert Caro, "On November 5, 1960, Lyndon Johnson won election for both the vice presidency of the United States, on the Kennedy-Johnson ticket, and for a third term as Senator (he had had Texas law changed to allow him to run for both offices). When he won the vice presidency, he made arrangements to resign from the Senate, as he was required to do under federal law, as soon as it convened on January 3, 1961."[23] (In 1988, Lloyd Bentsen, the Vice Presidential running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and also a Senator from Texas, took advantage of "Lyndon's law," and was able to retain his seat in Senate despite Dukakis' loss to George H. W. Bush. The same went for Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in 2000 after Al Gore lost to George W. Bush.)

Johnson was reelected Senator with 1,306,605 votes (58 percent) to Republican John Tower's 927,653 (41.1 percent). Fellow Democrat William A. Blakley was appointed to replace Johnson as Senator, but Blakley lost a special election in May 1961 to Tower.

After the election, Johnson found himself powerless. Despite Kennedy's efforts to have Johnson busy, informed, and at the White House often, his advisors and even some of his family were dismissive to the Texan. Kennedy appointed him to nominal jobs such as head of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities, through which he worked with African Americans and other minorities. Though Kennedy probably intended this to remain a nominal position, Taylor Branch in Pillar of Fire contends that Johnson served to force the Kennedy administration's actions for civil rights further and faster than Kennedy intended to go. Branch notes the irony of Johnson, who the Kennedy family hoped would appeal to conservative southern voters, being the advocate for civil rights. In particular he notes Johnson's Memorial Day 1963 speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as being a catalyst, that led to much more action than otherwise would have occurred.

Johnson took on numerous minor diplomatic missions, which gave him limited insights into international issues. He was allowed to observe Cabinet and National Security Council meetings. Kennedy did give Johnson control over all presidential appointments involving Texas, and he was appointed chairman of the President's Ad Hoc Committee for Science. When, in April 1961, the Soviets beat the U.S. with the first manned spaceflight, Kennedy tasked Johnson with coming up with a 'scientific bonanza' that would prove world leadership. Johnson knew that Project Apollo and an enlarged NASA were feasible, so he steered the recommendation towards a program for landing an American on the moon.

[edit] Presidency 1963–1969

[edit] Assassination of President John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. To the left of Johnson is Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of Kennedy; to his right is Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, and sitting down near the airplane window is Jack Valenti, founder of the MPAA. Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. To the left of Johnson is Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of Kennedy; to his right is Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, and sitting down near the airplane window is Jack Valenti, founder of the MPAA.

Two hours and 8 minutes after President Kennedy was shot two cars in front of him in a Dealey Plaza motorcade, Johnson was sworn in as President on Air Force One in Dallas at Love Field Airport on November 22, 1963. He was sworn in by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a family friend, making him the first President sworn in by a woman. He is also the only President to have been sworn in on Texas soil. Johnson was not sworn on a Bible, as none could be found aboard Air Force One; a Roman Catholic missal was discovered in Kennedy's desk, and this book was used during the swearing-in ceremony.[24]

Johnson created a panel headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, known as the Warren Commission, to investigate Kennedy's assassination. The commission conducted hearings and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination. Not everyone agreed with the Warren Commission, however, and numerous public and private investigations continued for decades after Johnson left office.[25]

The wave of national grief following the assassination gave enormous momentum to Johnson's promise to carry out Kennedy's programs. He retained the senior Kennedy appointees, some for the full term of his presidency. Even the late President's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, with whom Johnson had an infamously difficult relationship, remained in office until leaving in 1964 to run for the Senate.[26]

[edit] 1964 Presidential election

   Main article: U.S. presidential election, 1964

On September 7, 1964, Johnson's campaign managers for the 1964 presidential election broadcast the "Daisy ad." It portrayed a little girl picking petals from a daisy, counting up to ten. Then a baritone voice took over, counted down from ten to zero and a nuclear bomb exploded. The message was that Barry Goldwater meant nuclear war. Although it was soon pulled off the air, it escalated into a very heated election. Johnson won the presidency by a sweeping landslide, winning with 61 percent of the vote and the then-widest popular margin in the 20th century — more than 15 million votes (this was later surpassed by incumbent President Nixon's defeat of Senator McGovern in 1972).[27]

In the summer of 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was organized with the purpose of challenging Mississippi's all-white and anti-civil rights delegation to the Democratic National Convention of that year as not representative of all Mississippians. At the national convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey the MFDP claimed the seats for delegates for Mississippi, not on the grounds of the Party rules, but because the official Mississippi delegation had been elected by a primary conducted under Jim Crow laws in which blacks were excluded because of poll taxes, literacy tests, and even violence against black voters. The national Party’s liberal leaders supported a compromise in which the white delegation and the MFDP would have an even division of the seats; Johnson was concerned that, while the regular Democrats of Mississippi would probably vote for Goldwater anyway, if the Democratic Party rejected the regular Democrats, he would lose the Democratic Party political structure that he needed to win in the South. Eventually, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Reuther and black civil rights leaders (including Roy Wilkins, Martin Luther King, and Bayard Rustin) worked out a compromise with MFDP leaders: the MFDP would receive two non-voting seats on the floor of the Convention; the regular Mississippi delegation would be required to pledge to support the party ticket; and no future Democratic convention would accept a delegation chosen by a discriminatory poll. When the leaders took the proposal back to the 64 members who had made the bus trip to Atlantic City, they voted it down. As MFDP Vice Chair Fannie Lou Hamer said, "We didn't come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn't come all this way for no two seats, 'cause all of us is tired." The failure of the compromise effort allowed the rest of the Democratic Party to conclude that the MFDP was simply being unreasonable, and they lost a great deal of their liberal support. After that, the convention went smoothly for LBJ without a searing battle over civil rights.[28] Despite the landslide victory, Johnson carried the South as a whole in the election, lost the Deep South states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, the first time a Democratic candidate had done so since Reconstruction.

[edit] Civil rights President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King, Jr. President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King, Jr.

In conjunction with the civil rights movement, Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation. Johnson signed it into law on July 2, 1964. Legend has it that, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation," anticipating a coming backlash from Southern whites against Johnson's Democratic Party.[29] In 1965, he achieved passage of a second civil rights bill, the Voting Rights Act, that outlawed discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the first time.

In 1967, Johnson nominated civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After the murder of civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo, Johnson went on television to announce the arrest of four Ku Klux Klansmen implicated in her death. He angrily denounced the Klan as a "hooded society of bigots", and warned them to "return to a decent society before it's too late." He turned the themes of Christian redemption to push for civil rights, thereby mobilizing support from churches North and South.[30] President Johnson meets with Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King in the White House Cabinet Room in 1966. President Johnson meets with Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King in the White House Cabinet Room in 1966.

At the Howard University commencement address on June 4, 1965, he said that both the government and the nation needed to help achieve goals:

   To shatter forever not only the barriers of law and public practice, but the walls which bound the condition of many by the color of his skin. To dissolve, as best we can, the antique enmities of the heart which diminish the holder, divide the great democracy, and do wrong — great wrong — to the children of God...[31]

[edit] Great Society

The Great Society program became Johnson's agenda for Congress in January 1965: aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, a wide-scale fight against poverty, control and prevention of crime, and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Congress, at times augmenting or amending, enacted many of Johnson's recommendations.

[edit] Federal aid to education

Johnson had a lifelong commitment to the belief that education was the cure for both ignorance and poverty, and was an essential component of the American Dream, especially for minorities who endured poor facilities and tight-fisted budgets from local taxes. He made education a top priority of the Great Society, with an emphasis on helping poor children. After the 1964 landslide brought in many new liberal Congressmen, he had the votes for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. For the first time large amounts of federal money went to public schools. In practice ESEA meant helping all public school districts, with more money going to districts that had large proportions of students from poor families (which included all the big cities). However, for the first time private schools (most of them Catholic schools in the inner cities) received services, such as library funding, comprising about 12% of the ESEA budget. As Dallek reports, researchers soon found that poverty had more to do with family background and neighborhood conditions than the quantity of education a child received. Early studies suggested initial improvements for poor kids helped by ESEA reading and math programs, but later assessments indicated that benefits faded quickly and left students little better off than those not in the programs. Johnson’s second major education program was the “Higher Education Act of 1965," which focused on funding for lower income students, including grants, work-study money, and government loans. He set up the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, to support humanists and artists (as the WPA once did). Although ESEA solidified Johnson's support among K12 teachers' unions, neither the Higher Education act nor the Endowments mollified the college professors and students growing increasingly uneasy with the war in Vietnam.[32]

[edit] War on poverty

In 1964, upon Johnson's request, Congress passed a tax-reduction law and the Economic Opportunity Act, which was in association with the war on poverty.

[edit] Medicare and Medicaid

Millions of elderly people were aided by the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act. Johnson gave the first two Medicare-cards to former President Harry S. Truman and his wife Bess after signing the medicare bill at the Truman Library. Lower income people received medical care funded by the government through the Medicaid program.[33] Truman (seated right) and his wife Bess (behind him) attend the signing of the Medicare Bill on July 30, 1965, by President Johnson. Truman (seated right) and his wife Bess (behind him) attend the signing of the Medicare Bill on July 30, 1965, by President Johnson.

[edit] Space race

NASA made spectacular explorations in the space program Johnson had championed since its start. When three astronauts successfully orbited the moon in December 1968, Johnson congratulated them: "You've taken … all of us, all over the world, into a new era …."

[edit] Urban riots

Major riots in black ghettos caused a series of "long hot summers." They started with a violent disturbance in Harlem in 1964 and the Watts district of Los Angeles in 1965, and extended to 1970. The biggest wave came in April, 1968, when riots occurred in over a hundred cities in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King. Newark burned in 1967, where six days of rioting left 26 dead, 1500 injured, and the inner city a burned out shell. In Detroit in 1967, Governor George Romney sent in 7400 national guard troops to quell fire bombings, looting, and attacks on white-owned businesses and on police. Johnson finally sent in federal troops with tanks and machine guns. Detroit continued to burn for three more days until finally 43 were dead, 2250 were injured, 4000 were arrested; property damage ranged into the hundreds of millions; much of inner Detroit was never rebuilt.[citation needed] Johnson called for even more billions to be spent in the cities and another federal civil rights law regarding housing, but his political capital had been spent and his Great Society programs lost support. Johnson's popularity plummeted as a massive white political backlash took shape, reinforcing the sense Johnson had lost control of the streets of major cities as well as his party.[34] President Johnson with Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. President Johnson with Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt.

[edit] Backlash against Johnson: 1966–67

Johnson's problems began to mount in 1966. By year's end the Democratic governor of Missouri warned that Johnson would lose the state by 100,000 votes, despite a half-million margin in 1964. "Frustration over Vietnam; too much federal spending and . . . taxation; no great public support for your Great Society programs; and . . . public disenchantment with the civil rights programs" had eroded the President's standing, the governor reported. There were bright spots, however. In January 1967 Johnson boasted that wages were the highest in history, unemployment was at a thirteen-year low, and corporate profits and farm incomes were greater than ever; however a 4.5% jump in consumer prices was worrisome, as well as the rise in interest rates. Johnson asked for a temporary 6% surcharge in income taxes to cover the mounting deficit caused by increased spending. Johnson's approval ratings stayed below 50 percent; by January 1967 the number of his strong supporters had plunged to 16% from 25% four months before. He ran about even with Republican George Romney in trial matchups that spring. Asked to explain why he was unpopular, Johnson responded, "I am a dominating personality, and when I get things done I don't always please all the people." Johnson also blamed the press, saying they showed "complete irresponsibility and lie and misstate facts and have no one to be answerable to." He also blamed "the preachers, liberals and professors" who had turned against him.[35] In the congressional elections of 1966 the Republicans gained three seats in the Senate and 47 in the House, reinvigorating the Conservative coalition and making it impossible for Johnson to pass any additional Great Society legislation.

[edit] Vietnam War

President Johnson increasingly focused on the American military effort in Vietnam. He firmly believed in the Domino Theory and that his containment policy required America to make a serious effort to stop all Communist expansion. At Kennedy's death, there were 16,000 American military advisors in Vietnam. Johnson expanded their numbers and roles following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (less than three weeks after the Republican Convention of 1964, which had nominated Barry Goldwater for President). LBJ visits Shriners Hospital in Portland, Oregon, in September 1964 LBJ visits Shriners Hospital in Portland, Oregon, in September 1964

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the President the exclusive right to use military force without consulting the Senate, was based on a false pretext, as he later admitted.[36]. It was Johnson who began America's direct involvement in the ground war in Vietnam. By 1968 there were 550,000 American soldiers inside Vietnam; in 1967 and 1968 they were being killed at the rate of over 1000 a month.[37]

Politically, Johnson closely watched the public opinion polls. His goal was not to adjust his policies to follow opinion, but rather to adjust opinion to support his policies. Until the Tet Offensive of 1968, he systematically downplayed the war: few speeches, no rallies or parades or advertising campaigns. He feared that publicity would charge up the hawks who wanted victory, and weaken both his containment policy and his higher priorities in domestic issues. Jacobs and Shapiro conclude, "Although Johnson held a core of support for his position, the president was unable to move Americans who held hawkish and dovish positions." Polls showed that beginning in 1965, the public was consistently 40-50% hawkish and 10-25% dovish. Johnson's aides told him, "Both hawks and doves [are frustrated with the war] ... and take it out on you."[38]

It was domestic issues that were driving his polls down steadily from spring 1966 onward. Analysts report that "Vietnam had no independent impact on President Johnson's popularity at all after other effects, including a general overall downward trend in popularity, had been taken into account."[39]

He often privately cursed the Vietnam War, and in a conversation with Robert McNamara, Johnson assailed "the bunch of commies" running the New York Times for their articles against the war effort.[40]Johnson believed that America could not afford to lose and risk appearing weak in the eyes of the world. In a discussion about the war with former President Dwight Eisenhower, Johnson said he was "trying to win it just as fast as I can in every way that I know how" and later stated that he needed "all the help I can get."[41] Johnson escalated the war effort continuously from 1964 to 1968 and the number of American deaths rose. In two weeks in May 1968 alone American deaths numbered 1,800 with total casualties at 18,000. Alluding to the Domino Theory, he said, "If we allow Vietnam to fall, tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week in San Francisco." When reporters repeatedly pressed Johnson in late 1967 on why he was so committed to the war, Johnson exposed an old war wound to them and said, That is why.[42] Walt Whitman Rostow showing President Lyndon B. Johnson a model of the Khe Sanh area in February 1968 Walt Whitman Rostow showing President Lyndon B. Johnson a model of the Khe Sanh area in February 1968

After the Tet offensive of January 1968, his presidency was dominated by the Vietnam War more than ever. As casualties mounted and success seemed further away than ever, Johnson's popularity plummeted. College students and others protested, burned draft cards, and chanted, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Johnson could scarcely travel anywhere without facing protests, and was not allowed by the Secret Service to attend the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where hundreds of thousands of hippies, yippies, Black Panthers and other opponents of Johnson's policy both in Vietnam and in the ghettoes converged to protest. Thus by 1968, the public was polarized, with the "hawks" rejecting Johnson's refusal to win the war, and the "doves" rejecting his continuation of containment. Support for Johnson's middle position continued to shrink until he finally rejected containment and sought a peace settlement. By late summer, however, he realized that Nixon was closer to his position than Humphrey. However, he continued to support Humphrey publicly in the election, and personally despised Nixon. One of Johnson's well known quotes was "the Democratic party at its worst, is still better than the Republican party at its best".[43]

[edit] 1968 Presidential election

   Main article: U.S. presidential election, 1968

Entering the 1968 election campaign, initially, no prominent Democratic candidate was prepared to run against a sitting President of his own party. Only Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota challenged Johnson as an anti-war candidate in the New Hampshire primary, hoping to pressure the Democrats to oppose the war. On March 12, McCarthy won 42% of the primary vote to Johnson's 49%, an amazingly strong showing for such a challenger. Four days later, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York entered the race. Internal polling by Johnson's campaign in Wisconsin, the next state to hold a primary election, showed the President trailing badly. Johnson did not leave the White House to campaign. President Johnson meets with candidate Richard Nixon in July 1968 President Johnson meets with candidate Richard Nixon in July 1968

Johnson had lost control of the Democratic Party, which was splitting into four factions, each of which despised the other three. The first comprised Johnson (and Humphrey), labor unions, and local party bosses (led by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley). The second group comprised students and intellectuals who were vociferously against the war, and rallied behind McCarthy. The third group comprised Catholics and blacks; they rallied behind Robert Kennedy. The fourth group was traditional white Southerners, who rallied behind George C. Wallace and his third party. Vietnam was one of many issues that splintered the party and Johnson could see no way to unite the party long enough for him to win reelection.[44]

In addition, Johnson was concerned that he might not make it through another term.[citation needed] Therefore, at the end of a March 31 speech, he shocked the nation when he announced he would not run for re-election: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President."[45] He did rally the party bosses and unions to give Humphrey the nomination. In what was termed the October surprise, Johnson announced to the nation on October 31, 1968, that he had ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam", effective November 1, should the Hanoi Government be willing to negotiate and citing progress with the Paris peace talks.

LBJ was not disqualified from running for a second full term under the provisions of the 22nd Amendment; he had served less than 24 months of President Kennedy's term. Had he stayed in the race and won and served out the new term, he would have been president for 9 years, second only to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is worth noting, however, that Johnson died suddenly, only two days after the end of this hypothetical term, and thus, with hindsight, the prospect of him dying in office appears real.

[edit] Legislation and programs [edit] Major legislation signed

   * 1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964
   * 1964: Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
   * 1964: Wilderness Act
   * 1964: Nurse Training Act
   * 1964: Food Stamp Act of 1964
   * 1964: Economic Opportunity Act
   * 1965: Higher Education Act of 1965
   * 1965: Social Security Act of 1965
   * 1965: Voting Rights Act
   * 1965: Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965
   * 1967: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
   * 1967: Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
   * 1968: Bilingual Education Act
   * 1968: Fair housing

[edit] Administration and Cabinet

(All of the cabinet members when Johnson became President in 1963 had been serving under John F. Kennedy previously.) Official White House portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson Official White House portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson The Johnson Cabinet OFFICE NAME TERM President Lyndon B. Johnson 1963–1969 Vice President None 1963–1965

 	Hubert Humphrey 	1965–1969

State Dean Rusk 1963–1969 Treasury C. Douglas Dillon 1963–1965

 	Henry H. Fowler 	1965–1968
 	Joseph W. Barr 	1968–1969

Defense Robert McNamara 1963–1968

 	Clark M. Clifford 	1968–1969

Justice Robert F. Kennedy 1963–1964

 	Nicholas deB. Katzenbach 	1964–1966
 	Ramsey Clark 	1966–1969

Postmaster General John A. Gronouski 1963–1965

 	Larry O'Brien 	1965–1968
 	W. Marvin Watson 	1968–1969

Interior Stewart Lee Udall 1963–1969 Agriculture Orville Lothrop Freeman 1963–1969 Commerce Luther Hartwell Hodges 1963–1965

 	John Thomas Connor 	1965–1967
 	Alexander Buel Trowbridge 	1967–1968
 	Cyrus Rowlett Smith 	1968–1969

Labor W. Willard Wirtz 1963–1969 HEW Anthony Celebrezze 1963–1965

 	John William Gardner 	1965–1968
 	Wilbur Joseph Cohen 	1968–1969

HUD Robert Clifton Weaver 1966–1968

 	Robert Coldwell Wood 	1969

Transportation Alan Stephenson Boyd 1967–1969 [edit] Supreme Court appointments

Johnson appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

   * Abe Fortas–1965
         o Fortas was also nominated to be Chief Justice of the United States in 1968, but he withdrew.
   * Thurgood Marshall–1967
         o Marshall was the first African-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

[edit] Post-presidency

After leaving the presidency in 1969, Johnson went home to his ranch in Johnson City, Texas. In 1971, he published his memoirs, The Vantage Point. That year, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum opened near 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".[46] [edit] Death and funeral A memorial wreath at the grave of former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, August 27, 1999. A memorial wreath at the grave of former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, August 27, 1999.

Johnson died at 4:33 p.m. on January 22, 1973, from a third heart attack at his ranch, at age 64. His health had been affected by years of heavy smoking and stress; the former president had severe heart disease. He was found by Secret Service agents, in his bed, with a phone in his hand.

Johnson was honored with a state funeral in which Texas Congressman J. J. Pickle and former Secretary of State Dean Rusk eulogized him at the Capitol.

The final services took place on January 25. The funeral was held at the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., where he had often worshiped at as president. The service was presided over by President Richard Nixon and attended by foreign dignitaries such as former Japanese prime minister Eisaku Satō, who served as Japanese prime minister during Johnson's presidency. Eulogies were given by the Rev. Dr. George Davis, the church's pastor, and W. Marvin Watson, former postmaster general. Nixon did not speak, though he attended, as is customary for presidents during state funerals, but the eulogists turned to him and lauded him for his tributes, as Rusk did the day before.

Johnson was buried in his family cemetery (which can be viewed today by visitors to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park in Stonewall, Texas), a few yards from the house in which he was born. Eulogies were given by John Connally and Reverend Billy Graham, the minister who officiated the burial rites. The state funeral, the last until Ronald Reagan's in 2004, capped off an unexpectedly busy week in Washington, as the Military District of Washington (MDW) dealt with their second major task in less than a week. Colonel J. Edward Melanson Jr., MDW public affairs chief, reacted: "We're finding out we're made of rubber."[47] The week began with Nixon's second inauguration. [edit] Legacy The coat of arms granted to President Johnson in 1968 The coat of arms granted to President Johnson in 1968

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

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.[48]

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

2008 is the celebration of the LBJ Centennial featuring special programs, events, and parties across Texas and in Washington, D. C. LBJ would have been 100 years old on August 27, 2008. -------------------- Lyndon Baines Johnson (known as LBJ) was the Democratic President of the United States from 1963 until 1968, becoming president after the death of John F Kennedy. He was a highly controversial and powerful figure in American politics. He was credited with many positive accomplishments by creating several useful and important domestic laws that would benefit society in many ways. However, his escalation of the Vietnam War is very controversial and led many to discredit him as a great President. Some people consider him to be one of the greatest Presidents in history. Some consider him one of the greatest blunders in American politics.

Johnson's critics and supporters do however agree on one thing - his political genius. Few men have ever been able to control and manipulate the political scene like Johnson did. Richard Nixon (a Republican opponent) called him 'one of the ablest political craftsmen of our times.' Johnson was crude and power-hungry (or perhaps just very ambitious) for sure, but he was patriotic and worked hard to try to help America.

Early Life

A United States Senator was born this morning... The announcement of Samuel Johnson on his first son's birth. Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on 27 August, 1908 to Rebekah Baines and Samuel Ealy Johnson in a farmhouse in southwest Texas. Lyndon was the eldest child of five. Samuel had been a member of the Texas House of Representatives for five terms, but had also been a schoolteacher and farmer. Rebekah was also a teacher. Lyndon's father had political aspirations for his eldest son, declaring that he would be a US Senator, on the day he was born. Johnson was from a political bloodline. His relatives had served many offices, including Governor of Kentucky, Texas Secretary of State and a member of the Texas State House of Representatives1.

As a child, Lyndon was normal and intelligent. He was religious, and learned quickly. Lyndon was active, and lived a full life. His family was not a rich one, though it was not poor, but the family had to work for what it earned.

When he was five years old, the family moved to a small town called Johnson City2. Young Lyndon did not particularly enjoy school, but worked hard and achieved consistently good grades. However, he was a great debater and, with a partner, won a debating competition for his county. He graduated in 1924 from Johnson City High School as President of his class of seven.

I know that as a farm boy, I did not feel secure, and when I was 14 years I decided I was not going to be the victim of a system which would allow the price of a commodity like cotton to drop from 40 cents to 6 cents and destroy the homes of people like my own family. Into his teens, Lyndon was thin and tall; he was six feet by the age of 15. After he left High School, Johnson made money by doing various odd jobs throughout his hometown and surrounding areas. He did not want to go to college, at least not right away. He travelled to California, where he collected money with some other odd jobs. He still didn't want to go to college, but after some urging from his parents he said 'I'm sick of working just with my hands. I don't know if I can work with my brain, but I'm ready to try.'

Starting in early 1927, Lyndon attended Southwest Texas State Teachers' College in San Marcos, majoring in history. He went there with only 75 dollars, and took jobs around campus to pay his way through college. He worked as a janitor through much of his time there, as a secretary to the College President and at one point as a teacher. As a student, Lyndon was the leader of the debating team and played an important role in campus politics. He was energetic and a strong leader, two characteristics that would be present in his political career later. He led a group called the White Stars (this name was because of another political group for the college was called the Black Stars, led by the college's athletes). Johnson was also editor of the college newspaper. College was his first political success.

When he ran out of money, Johnson had to take a year off from college in order to finance the rest of his education. He taught in a small town called Cotulla in southern Texas. He finished college in 1930, after attending school for only 312 days.

After he graduated, young Johnson taught public speaking at Sam Houston High School in Houston, Texas. The teams he taught were awarded honours at State Contests.

Early Political Career

Johnson's first year active in politics was 1931. He campaigned for Richard M Kleberg to be elected into the office of US Representative in a special election. Johnson made many speeches and spoke with a large portion of the voters. When Kleberg won the election, he made Johnson his secretary and took him along with him to Washington DC, only 23 years old. During his brief time as a Congressional Secretary, Johnson began to understand how the politics of the US worked. He impressed many figures in Congress.

In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt made the 26-year-old Johnson Texas State Administrator of the National Youth Administration (NYA). He was the youngest of the NYA State Administrators. At his post, Johnson helped put 12,000 young people to work and helped 18,000 young people attend higher education.

Marriage

While he was a Congressional Secretary, Johnson often visited his home state of Texas. There, he met a woman named Claudia Alta Taylor, nicknamed 'Lady Bird' since her infancy, who was the daughter of a wealthy family. Johnson immediately asked her for a date, but he returned to Washington without one. Back in Washington, he called Claudia and sent her letters and telegrams. After two months, Johnson returned to Texas and asked her to marry him. She accepted, and they were married on 17 November, 1934, and honeymooned in Mexico.

They would have two daughters - Lynda Bird and Luci Baines - both with the initials LBJ, like their father and mother. These initials would become famous. The Johnsons acknowledged this, and even named their family dogs Little Beagle Johnson and Little Beagle Junior.

Congressman Johnson

In 1937, Johnson left his job as Texas NYA Administrator to run for US Congress as a Representative of 10th Congressional District of Texas. He ran to fill in for James Buchanan, who had died while he was serving in the office. He was one of ten men working for the office and most of his opponents were most distinguished with much more money to campaign with. Most of these men, who were more conservative than Johnson, were against President Roosevelt's 'New Deal' Proposal. But Johnson supported Roosevelt and he considered a vote for himself as a vote for Roosevelt. Many of his opponents were critical of Johnson for this support and mentioned him often in their campaign speeches - which in turn gave both men useful publicity.

Two days before the election, an emergency procedure had to be performed to remove Johnson's appendix. On 10 April, while he was recovering in a hospital bed, he was told that he had won the election with ease. One day after his election victory, Roosevelt asked the young Johnson to meet him in Galveston, Texas. Johnson rode through Texas on his train, speaking with the President and developing a friendship. Roosevelt became a mentor to the young Congressman.

Johnson was sworn in as a Representative on 14 May, 1937. As a Congressman, he was appointed to the House Naval Affairs Committee because of the help from President Roosevelt. In the House, he worked to turn bills benefiting his home district into law. In 1938, he was elected to his first full term as a Representative without any opposition.

Johnson was once more re-elected - unopposed - to the House of Representatives in 1940. He also campaigned for Roosevelt to be nominated in 1940 against John Nance Garner, and used his position as the head of the House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to help this. Roosevelt, of course, won the nomination and re-election - partially because of Johnson's work.

In 1941, Johnson announced from the White House that he would attempt to run for the US Senate. He ended up being defeated narrowly by Texas Governor W Lee O'Daniel by only 1,311 votes3. After this loss, Johnson consciously made himself more conservative in ideas and policies to make himself more politically attractive to traditionalist Texas voters.

World War II

When World War II began in 1939, Johnson used his position on the House Naval Affairs Committee to have a naval air-training base built in Corpus Christi, Texas and shipyards in Houston and Orange, Texas. Johnson also supported Roosevelt's policy of preparing the USA for a potential war.

Johnson said that if war became apparent:

my vote must be cast to send your boy to war, that day Lyndon Johnson will leave his seat in Congress to go with him. An hour after Congress declared war (as an effect of the Pearl Harbor bombing on 7 December, 1941), Lyndon left his office and, as a Naval Reserve member, asked to be put into active duty. Johnson thereby became the first Congressman to leave his office and go into the military.

Lieutenant Commander Johnson visited New Zealand as a representative of President Roosevelt. He went around the Pacific, visiting bases and operations centres. He even flew in missions, and during one, when a Japanese aeroplane attacked his bomber, Johnson exhibited prowess, and was awarded a Silver Star award by General Douglas MacArthur.

While still working in the Army, in 1942 Johnson's advocates entered him as a candidate for re-election to the House of Representatives, and he was unopposed. After winning, in July, President Roosevelt called on Congressmen in the military4 to return to the capital. He was again elected to the House of Representatives in 1944.

Senator Johnson

In 1948, Johnson decided to run for the office of US Senator for Texas again. His opposition for the Democratic nomination was wide, with 10 opponents. His strongest opponent, Coke Stevenson, who had been Texas Governor from 1941-1947, beat him 477,077 votes to 405,617 in the primary. However, because there were 11 candidates, no candidate received a majority, so a runoff election had to be held5. In it, Johnson won very narrowly by 87 votes6! Johnson would win the election as well.

As a Senator, Johnson was on his party's Armed Services Committee, which is where he called for the nation to prepare for the Cold War. He was on this committee when the Korean War began, where he pushed for more troops and weapons to be used.

In 1951, Johnson was elected the Majority Whip7 of the Senate. While serving this office, Johnson helped increase the unity of the Democratic Party, and started to develop his charm and powers of persuasion. Many found that he had the ability to make people reach agreements.

During the elections of 1952, Johnson supported Adlai Stevenson to be elected President, campaigning relentlessly. Through one three-day period, LBJ made over 20 speeches in support of Stevenson. Republican General Dwight D Eisenhower easily won the election with 442 electoral votes over Stevenson, and the Republican party gained control of both houses of Congress, making the Democrats a minority. But Johnson attracted the attention of his party.

In January 1953, the minority Democrats of the Senate unanimously elected him as their Minority Leader - Johnson, at the age of 44, was the youngest person to serve as a Senate Party Leader. This opportunity came as Senate Democrat leader Ernest McFarland had lost his election in Arizona.

Johnson's term as a Senator ran out in 1954. He easily won the Democratic Primary for his office, so he campaigned for other Democrats all over the nation. The Senate majority party changed again in the 1954 election, as the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress. This made Johnson the Senate Majority Leader. Basically, the responsibility of the Majority Leader is to keep everything working well, deciding which senator will sponsor bills, and when certain bills will go up for voting. This new position made Johnson one of the best-known politicians in the country.

By this time, Johnson had crafted a skill of persuasion and negotiation. He knew how to get bills he favoured passed - he was able to convince people easily, and used certain techniques to push the Democratic agenda. He consulted every Democrat in the Senate when bills were disputatious or controversial and he would postpone voting on a bill until he was able to convince every Senator he could to vote his way. He also used a system of favours to bring in votes. Johnson often cooperated with Republicans, and the Republican President Eisenhower. He did not want the parties to fight against each other simply for the sake of fighting. He explained:

All of us are Americans before we are members of any political organisation. Johnson had been Senate Majority Leader a short time before he had a heart attack on 2 July, 1955. He spent just over a month at the Naval Medical Center in Maryland before he left for his hometown in Texas to recover. While at his ranch in Johnson City, he went on a diet and gave up smoking to help his health. He went back to his Senate position six months later.

Johnson's agenda through his years in the Senate included encouraging space exploration. He worked to bring about the Senate Aeronautical and Space Committee, which he made himself the chairman of. Johnson also sponsored the bill establishing NASA - the National Aeronautical and Space Administration.

Also on his agenda was working for Civil Rights. During his later years as a Senator, the Civil Rights Movement was active. Johnson's influence helped to bring into law the 1957 Civil Rights Bill, which was the first such law in almost a century. His opinions on Civil Rights would later guide his Presidency. In 1960, Johnson brought through Congress a second Civil Rights law, which guaranteed that all citizens of the US could vote.

Johnson became a very well-known and respected figure in American Politics, and he was becoming very powerful. His only interests were in politics, and he knew the art of politics thoroughly. Few people in history could match his knowledge of working bills into law. Through his life in politics, he had managed to find various connections to Texas businesses, especially the petroleum industry. He would eventually become very rich.

Vice President Johnson

Only a week before the Democratic National Convention of 1960, Johnson announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination as President. He had not participated in the primary elections of 1960, claiming he was too busy at his job as Senate Majority Leader. Johnson received 409 votes at the Convention, but the young and ambitious John F Kennedy had 806 votes, winning him the nomination. However, Johnson was quickly offered the position of Vice Presidential running mate by Kennedy, which surprised many.

Because Johnson was a Texas native, his place as Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee was intended to help bring in votes from the South, and bring in conservative votes8. Johnson was a balance to Kennedy, who was a Northerner and a Roman Catholic Liberal politician. Johnson's influence in the Senate could also help Kennedy later.

In the elections of 1960, Johnson and Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard M Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr in one of the closest elections in history. At the same time, Johnson was elected for his third term in the Senate (which he ran for on the chance that Nixon and Lodge would defeat Kennedy and himself). He resigned from the Senate and was sworn in as Vice President of the United States.

As Vice President, Johnson liked President Kennedy and respected him. He was sometimes bothered by the decisions of Kennedy, but didn't make those concerns public. Johnson also occasionally had problems with Kennedy's Cabinet, especially with Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

As Vice President, Johnson was one of the most active people serving in the office in history. As chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, he continued to push for more space exploration. When his council was asked by Kennedy to investigate the feasibility of space exploration, Johnson reported:

To be first in space is to be first period, to be second in space is to be second in everything. He also chaired the new Peace Corps National Advisory Council, which was created by Kennedy during his term. Johnson also served on the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the National Security Council. Working on these assignments, Johnson became more pro-civil rights and favoured Space Exploration more.

Johnson took trips abroad to speak with citizens of the world about America's intentions and actions. He was also able to report back to Washington about the world and how it reacted. He, personally, learned a great deal from these trips about the world.

President Johnson

On 22 November, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Johnson was only three cars behind Kennedy at the time of the assassination, and only 39 minutes after Kennedy died, Johnson was sworn in as the new President aboard Air Force One. The oath of office was performed by a friend of Johnson's, Sarah T Hughes, a US District Court Judge.

All I have, I would have given gladly not to be standing here today... Johnson's first address as President to a joint session of Congress on November 27 LBJ was an energetic man and was ready to become President. He took the opportunity as President to try to make the nation the best place he could. With the United States mourning the death of the beloved Kennedy, Johnson used JFK's legacy to help pass laws and bring into action things that Kennedy fought for and that Johnson held in high regard. LBJ said:

No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honour President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. Johnson fought for (what would become) the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to be passed. His adept skills in passing legislation contributed to this being passed swiftly. It would be passed by the 88th Congress within a year of Johnson's succession.

These and other accomplishments under his administration made him enormously popular by the time he finished Kennedy's term. He ran for his first full term in 1964, with Hubert H Humphrey as his running mate, nearly doubling his Republican opponent Barry M Goldwater in popular votes (with the largest popular vote margin in US History) and having nine times the electoral votes of the Republican. The Democrats advanced in Congress consistently as well, aiding his ability to pass his bills and continue his foreign policies.

'Great Society'

Johnson often spoke about a 'Great Society', which would almost become a motto of the Johnson Presidency. He first spoke about a Great Society on 22 May, 1964, when he addressed University of Michigan students. He said:

We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society. His 'Great Society' idea was composed of a domestic agenda which led to the following accomplishments:

Civil Rights was the most important part of the Great Society. His Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the most important domestic laws established in decades.

Johnson declared an 'unconditional war on poverty in America'. He put several programs into action to improve the poverty condition in the US and to raise employment levels. Johnson also had the Job Corps established, which was created to help train and employ young citizens.

A tax plan that Kennedy had pushed for (including a tax cut) was approved. Johnson also made a relatively small Federal Budget of 98 billion dollars.

Medicare, a health insurance plan for elderly Americans, was established.

The Railroad workers unions called a strike across the US on 10 April, 1964. Johnson realised that this could be one of the largest labour catastrophes ever, and he brought leaders from labour and business sides to negotiate at the White House. Leaders agreed to a 15 day delay of the strike, and Johnson helped both sides end the strike three days before the delay was up.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed, outlawing literacy tests and other barriers that prevented citizens from voting. This was really a Civil Rights law, as it regularly prevented minorities from voting.

The Housing and Urban Development Department, as well as the Department of Transportation were established under Johnson.

Education was a large concern to Johnson. He increased Federal Aid to the public education system.

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution was approved by Congress and ratified by the states. It strove for a clearer line of succession for the US President.

Largely because of his social and economic plans, the economy boomed under Johnson, especially through his second term.

The Appalachia Bill was designed to improve the quality of life in the poor region around the Appalachian Mountains.

A law in 1968 prevented discrimination in selling, leasing or renting housing. A law was also created that year that provided over five billion dollars in Federal money to assist in buying houses and apartments.

In 1966, Robert C Weaver was appointed by Johnson as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was the first African-American appointed to the Cabinet. In 1967, Thurgood Marshall (known as the lawyer who argued against segregation in public schooling in the Brown vs. Board of Education decision) was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, making him the first African American on the Supreme Court.

As President, Johnson continued to push for an expansion of the USA's space exploration programme.

Foreign Problems

President Johnson inherited several problems from JFK's administration: in particular, JFK's foreign policies caused a great deal of criticism for LBJ all over the world. Some important foreign issues, accomplishments and meetings included:

At the funeral of President Kennedy, many leaders of the world met with JFK's successor. It would help him form his first fundamental ideas of foreign policy. On 27 November, only five days after the assassination of JFK, LBJ said that:

This nation will keep its commitments from South Vietnam to West Berlin. We will be unceasing in the search for peace; resourceful in our pursuit of areas of agreement even with those with whom we differ; and generous and loyal to those who join with us in common cause. The first foreign policy issue for Johnson was the Panama Crisis of early 1964. Rioters surrounded the Panama Canal Zone. Panama's President, Roberto Chiari, ended diplomatic relations between the two nations until the Panama Canal Treaty was renegotiated.

Only a few months after Johnson succeeded Kennedy, Fidel Castro, the Communist Leader of Cuba, called for the US to give up its military base on Cuba in Guantanamo Bay and he had the water to the base cut off. Johnson told the men at the base to find their own water supply, and when a few Cuban fishing boats were seized by the US, Castro gave Guantanamo its water back.

The Dominican Republic endured a large revolt in April 1965. Johnson sent US troops to help bring order. This was controversial, but Johnson told Americans that they couldn't let Communists take over governments in the Western Hemisphere. No one quite knew whether communists were involved, though.

In June, 1967, a large-scale conflict (less than a war, more than battle) broke out in the Middle East between Arabs and the Israelis. The Soviet Union got involved, as it sold arms to the Arabs. Johnson refused to involve the US in the war, but did speak from the White House about the war. He held a conference with Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. Little resulted from the conference, but Johnson regained an image as a master statesman throughout the US and the world.

The defining feature of Johnson's Presidency was the Vietnam War - possibly the least popular war in the history of the US. It really had actually begun three administrations before him, with Truman in 1945 (he did not start the war with any battle, but the seeds for the war were sown during Truman's administration). Eisenhower sent less than 1,000 US 'Military Advisors' to Vietnam to assist the South Vietnamese government. About 25,000 military workers were sent to Vietnam under the Kennedy administration, as resistance and fighting escalated in the early 1960s. Kennedy also secretly supported a coup to oust South Vietnam Premier Ngo Dinh Diem from office. However, he did not seem to want a full-scale war. He said:

...it is their war. We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisors but they have to win it. The Vietnam War officially began in August, 1964 when Johnson received intelligence that North Vietnamese torpedo ships fired on US ships. Some doubt that this really happened, and many that were there at the time are not sure. On 5 August, Congress authorised Johnson to use any means necessary to prevent further aggression. However, as 1964 elections were around the corner, Johnson did not support escalation of the war, fearing popular opinion against this. One of his key campaign platforms was that he was against a US war in Vietnam.

By November of 1965, just a year after Johnson campaigned on non-escalation of the war, about 165,000 military personnel were in Vietnam. 1,104 Americans died in combat that year. The war continued to escalate, with the amount of troops and the number of fatalities increasing exponentially. Back in the US, the number of people protesting against the war continued to grow. Of course, some thought that the US was not working hard enough to oust the Vietcong resistance. Much of the government was divided into 'hawks' (advocates of a larger scale war) and 'doves', who were in favour of a smaller role for the US. The war's cost led to a tighter US budget, and many of Johnson's social programmes were stripped back.

Youth protest against the war was rampant. A common chant outside of the White House was 'Hey, hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?' Before the war, LBJ had been extremely popular - but as the war heightened, opposition to his Presidency grew. Johnson's advisors seemed to underestimate the determination of the Vietcong, and the death toll for the US Armed Forces continued to mount.

For further information on the Vietnam War, see the following entries:

The Vietnam War Through the Eyes of American Filmmakers War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1945 - 1964) War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1965 - 1967) War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1968) War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1969 - 1970) War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1971) War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1972-1975) His Fall

LBJ's allies and foes turned against him because of the Vietnam War. Protesters demonstrated all across the United States. LBJ became less and less popular. On 30 November, 1968, famous Senator Eugene McCarthy challenged Johnson for the Democratic nomination by announcing he would run in the primary elections. McCarthy showed a clear advantage in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary. Senator Robert Kennedy would also become one of Johnson's opponents.

On 31 March, 1968, Johnson announced that he would not seek a second full term. After an address to the nation about limiting the war in Vietnam, he said:

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office - the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President. This was a huge shock to the world of American Politics. Few predicted that LBJ would not run for a second full term. Some thought it was brave and unselfish, though some didn't trust his reasons for this. In his last few months in office, LBJ stripped back US involvement in the Vietnam War and left the office, not in disgrace, but in an atmosphere of cooperation and unity. His choice to end escalation of the war and begin peace talks would be one of his legacies to future administrations.

Other Parts of Johnson's Presidency

Johnson's style often got more attention than his actual work and achievements. He is generally considered to have been a very crude man, and not nearly as charismatic as his predecessor Kennedy. The image of the handsome, popular and cultured Kennedy, in comparison to the coarse Texan who hosted barbecues instead of balls, was often brought to the public's attention.

Johnson was known for not responding to threats and remaining calm under pressure. Leaders such as Charles de Gaulle repeatedly did things that might prompt a response from other Presidents, but Johnson remained composed. He also gained a reputation as a great statesman, for his ability to calmly and easily negotiate with world leaders.

Like Kennedy before him, and Nixon after him, Johnson had many of his phone calls recorded. He is famous for his crudeness, and some of his phone calls demonstrated this. In one, he described a pair of trousers he wanted made for him, 'The crotch down where your nuts hang - it's always a little too tight. It's like riding a wire fence. See if you can't give me an inch where the zipper ends, right back to my bunghole.'9.

Johnson and the Kennedy family feuded occasionally. After JFK's assassination, Johnson spoke with the widow Jackie Kennedy frequently. She shared these conversations with her family, and made fun of him. Robert Kennedy also disliked Johnson. They could rarely work together under John Kennedy's administration, and after JFK's assassination, Johnson felt threatened by Robert.

Retirement

Republican Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey for the Presidency in 1968, and after Nixon's inauguration, Johnson retired to his ranch in Johnson City. He remained interested in politics, but didn't participate. He published his memoir in 1971, called The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969. In 1972, Johnson had another heart attack and became a recluse in his ranch. On 22 January, 1973 Johnson had a heart attack and died.

Johnson is gone but definitely not forgotten. His birthday, 27 August is a state holiday in Texas. The Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas was renamed the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center in his honour. His Presidential Library may also be worth a visit if you're in Austin, Texas.

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson

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Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States's Timeline

1908
August 27, 1908
Stonewall, TX, United States
1934
November 17, 1934
Age 26
San Antonio, TX, United States

Source: About.com
http://marriage.about.com/od/presidentialmarriages/p/ljohnson.htm

HOW LYNDON AND LADY BIRD MET:

Lyndon said he fell in love with Lady Bird at first sight when they were introduced by a friend, Eugenia Boehringer, on August 1, 1934 while Lyndon was in Austin, Texas on a business trip. After meeting Lady Bird, Lyndon ditched his planned date for the evening and took Eugenia and Lady Bird out for drinks. Lyndon was 26 years old and Lady Bird was 21 years old.

Their first date alone was the next morning for breakfast and Lady Bird was late. After breakfast and a long drive in the country, Lyndon proposed marriage. Lady Bird didn't say yes or no -- she said she wanted to wait a year.

Through conversations both by letters and by telephone, Lyndon convinced her to accept an engagement ring around seven weeks later.

"On November 17, Lyndon said, "We either do it now, or we never will. And if you say good-bye to me, it just proves to me that you don't love me enough to dare to. And I just can't bear to go and keep on wondering if it will ever happen."

Source: Wendy H. Goldberg and Betty Goodwin. Marry Me! Courtships and Proposals of Legendary Couples. pg. 20.

Lady Bird said yes.

WEDDING DATE AND HONEYMOON:

After Lady Bird said yes, she and Lyndon drove to San Antonio, Texas and were married the evening of November 17, 1934 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

The marriage license, the minister, and several $2.50 wedding bands from Sears were arranged by a postmaster friend of Lyndon's. Lyndon later gave Lady Bird a ring with three diamond baquettes on each side of a central small diamond.

After the wedding Lyndon and Lady Bird had dinner at St. Anthony's Hotel. Their first night together was at the Plaza Hotel in San Antonio. They left the next day for a honeymoon in Mexico.

ISSUES IN LADY BIRD AND LYNDON JOHNSON'S MARRIAGE:

* Lyndon was demanding and ordered Lady Bird around. He would embarrass Lady Bird in public by making negative comments about how she dressed.

* Lyndon was unfaithful throughout their marriage. He was "a womanizer and liked to brag about it."

Source: Alice E. Anderson and Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. pg. 145.

OCCUPATIONS:

Lyndon Johnson: Lyndon was the 36th President of the United States. He had been in politics most of his life.

Lady Bird Johnson: A business woman, in the early 1940s Lady Bird turned a small inheritance of $17,500 into $9 million in 1969 by investing in the KTBC radio station. She used part of her inheritance from her mother to finance Lyndon's first election. Lady Bird founded the National Wildflower Research Center, promoted the Highway Beautification Act and Head Start.

QUOTES ABOUT THE MARRIAGE OF LADY BIRD AND LYNDON JOHNSON:

Jan Russell about Lady Bird's attraction to Lyndon: "... she was crazy about Lyndon Johnson, that she loved his drive, his directness, his ability to take charge. She confided that he had asked her to marry him on their first date. there was something about Johnson that drew him to her."

Source: Jan Jarboe Russell. Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson. pg. 13.

Lyndon after his heart attack in July 1955: "Everybody's disappointed me except Lady Bird. My close friends have disappointed me. But Lady Bird never has. I never turned over in bed that I didn't hear her feet on the floor."

Source: Kati Marton. Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History. pg. 145.

Virginia Foster Durr, a friend from the Johnsons' Congressional years: "Lyndon was wild about Bird and depended on her for everything. But you never heard Lyndon say it. Of course, he worked her to death! A lot of her women friends used to get mad at him ... He took her completely for granted, and he expected her to devote every waking hour to him, which she did. I don't know how she lived through it."

Source: Alice E. Anderson and Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. pg. 142.

Lady Bird during Barbara Walters interview about Lyndon's infidelity: "Oh, I think perhaps there was a time or two ... If all those ladies had some good points that I didn't have, I hope I had the good sense to learn a little bit from it. He loved me. I know he only loved me."

Source: Alice E. Anderson and Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. pg. 147.

Lyndon about Lady Bird: "Through our years together I have come to value lady Bird's opinion of me, my virtues and flaws."

Source: Kati Marton. Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History. pg. 155.

1973
January 22, 1973
Age 64
Stonewall, TX, United States
January 25, 1973
Age 64
Stonewall, TX, United States