Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Key Events in the Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson

1963

November 22, 1963

Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in as the thirty-sixth President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

November 27, 1963

Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress calling on legislators to fulfill Kennedy's legacy and pass civil rights and tax legislation.

November 29, 1963

Johnson creates a special commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the Kennedy assassination.

1964

January 23, 1964

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, abolishing poll taxes.

February 7, 1964

The Beatles arrive in New York for their first U.S. tour.

March 14, 1964

Jack Ruby is convicted of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and sentenced to death.

May 22, 1964

In a speech at the University of Michigan, Johnson announces his intention to create a Great Society by extending American prosperity to all its citizens.

July 2, 1964

Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

July 15, 1964

Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) receives the Republican nomination for President.

July 19, 1964

Governor George Wallace of Alabama drops out of the presidential race despite strong showings in several Democratic primaries.

August 4, 1964

Three civil rights workers are found dead in Mississippi. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were all participating in the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

August 7, 1964

Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving the President power to pursue military action in Vietnam.

August 26, 1964

Johnson receives the Democratic nomination for President. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN) is nominated as the vice-presidential candidate.

August 30, 1964

Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, creating the Office of Economic Opportunity and beginning the War on Poverty.

September 27, 1964

The Warren Commission releases its report, rejecting the notion that Kennedy was assassinated as part of a conspiracy.

October 14, 1964

Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

October 15, 1964

Nikita Khrushchev is forced to resign as leader of the Soviet Union and is replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.

November 3, 1964

Lyndon B. Johnson is elected President of the United States.

1965

January 20, 1965

Johnson is inaugurated President of the United States.

February 9, 1965

Nine American soldiers are killed in an attack on U.S. barracks in Pleiku, Vietnam. Johnson begins the bombing of North Vietnam.

February 21, 1965

Malcolm X is assassinated by other black Muslims in New York City.

March 15, 1965

Johnson calls for voting rights legislation.

March 21, 1965

Martin Luther King Jr. leads a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

April 11, 1965

Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

April 28, 1965

Johnson sends U.S. marines to the Dominican Republic to protect U.S. citizens after a military coup.

June 7, 1965

The U.S. Supreme Court finds a Connecticut law banning the use of contraceptives unconstitutional.

July 26, 1965

Martin Luther King Jr. leads a demonstration in Chicago in an attempt to bring the Civil Rights Movement to the North.

July 28, 1965

Johnson increases the number of troops sent to Vietnam, indicating his determination to engage in a ground war.

July 30, 1965

Johnson signs legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid.

August, 1965

A paper by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, entitled, The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, is released. The conclusions of the "Moynihan Report" create heated controversy.

August 5, 1965

Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law.

August 11-16, 1965

The Watts Riots break out in Los Angeles.

1966

February 21, 1966

Fearing that American involvement in Vietnam will draw France into a world war, French president Charles de Gaulle announces that France will withdraw from NATO.

March 7, 1966

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upholds the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

June 1-2, 1966

The White House Conference on Civil Rights urges Congress to pass further civil rights legislation.

June 6, 1966

James Meredith is shot in a March from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi; civil rights leaders organize to complete his march. During this demonstration, Stokely Carmichael makes a statement in support of "black power."

June 13, 1966

In Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the constitutional provision against self-incrimination applies to police interrogations.

October, 1966

Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale found the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California.

1967

January 27, 1967

A launch pad fire during tests for the Apollo program kills three astronauts.

February 10, 1967

The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, providing rules of succession upon the death or incapacitation of the President, and enabling the President to appoint a new vice-president in the case of a vacancy.

June 5, 1967

The Six Day War breaks out between Israel and several Arab nations.

June 14, 1967

Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court.

July 13, 1967

Riots break out in Newark, New Jersey.

July 23, 1967

Riots spread across the city of Detroit, Michigan.

October 21, 1967

Anti-war demonstrators March to the Pentagon in an attempt to shut it down.

1968

January 22, 1968

North Korean forces capture the U.S.S. Pueblo.

January 30, 1968

North Vietnamese troops surprise South Vietnamese and American troops by attacking during the Tet holiday. While the Tet Offensive is not a military loss for the United States, it leads to a loss of confidence in the Johnson administration's prosecution of the war.

February 8, 1968

George Wallace enters the presidential race as an independent.

March 12, 1968

Johnson wins the New Hampshire Democratic primary, but anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy comes in a close second with 42 percent of the vote.

March 16, 1968

U.S. forces in Vietnam commit massacre in the hamlet of My Lai; hundreds of unarmed men, women, and children are killed. News of the event would not reach the public until November 1969.

March 16, 1968

Robert Kennedy enters the race for the Democratic nomination for President.

March 31, 1968

Johnson announces a partial bombing halt and his unwillingness to seek reelection to the presidency.

April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

April 23, 1968

Students at Columbia University take over several buildings on campus.

April 29, 1968

Ralph Abernathy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) begins the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C.

May 13, 1968

The United States and North Vietnam begin peace talks in Paris.

June 5, 1968

Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated after winning the Democratic primary in California.

August 20-21, 1968

The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia to end the movement toward greater freedom and independence.

August 25-29, 1968

Hubert H. Humphrey is nominated in Chicago as the Democratic candidate for President. Demonstrators and police clash in violent confrontations.

November 5, 1968

Richard M. Nixon is elected President of the United States, and Spiro Agnew is elected vice-president.

November 12, 1968

Leonid Brezhnev announces that the Soviet Union has the right to intervene anywhere in its sphere of influence. This "Brezhnev Doctrine" becomes central to Soviet foreign policy.