Miller Center

Primary Resources: Great Society

Editor: Guian McKee

  • Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare and Medicaid at 40
    Compiled to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, this site offers three documentaries, a collection of oral histories (including both transcripts and video) with leading figures in the history of the program, links to a special issue of the journal Health Affairs, featuring articles by former program administrators, and video of the 2005 anniversary conference. Also included are detailed timelines of key developments in the history of Medicare and Medicaid and collection of statistics on the programs.
  • Social Security Online
    This is one of the best online social policy history resources in existence as it contains a detailed documentary record of the origins and development of the Social Security Administration, including the Social Security Amendments of 1965 that created Medicare. Materials related to Medicare include full text of the legislation, final House and Senate votes (by member), photos, audio, and video of the signing ceremony (featuring Presidents Truman and Johnson), documents from the ceremony, and historical analyses of the legislation by Peter Corning and Theodore Marmor.
  • VISTA Living History
    An extensive collection of first-hand accounts from participants in the Volunteers In Service to America program. Created under Title VI of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, VISTA places volunteers in rural and urban communities to work with state and local governments and community groups to reduce poverty and address social problems. The site also contains a historical summary of VISTA and a gallery of original photographs.
  • Teaching American History--Document Library--Lyndon Johnson
    Find transcripts of major speeches by President Lyndon Johnson, including the 1964 State of the Union Speech, the 1964 University of Michigan commencement speech outlining the Great Society, the 1965 Howard University commencement speech examining remedies for racial inequality, and Executive Order 11246 prohibiting discrimination in federal employment and contracting (an important prelude to affirmative action).
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 35th Anniversary Website
    Maintained by the EEOC, this site includes a detailed historical narrative of the EEOC, links to key documents and legislation, photographs, and oral history interviews with EEOC personnel. The EEOC home page includes detailed information about the commission's current operations.
  • NPR--Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty
    Companion website to a January 2004 National Public Radio story marking the fortieth anniversary of the President Lyndon Johnson's declaration of a "War on Poverty" in his 1964 State of the Union speech. The site includes the NPR story, an audio file of the speech, commentary on the War on Poverty by leading historians, and selections from the Johnson White House recordings.
  • Womenhistory.about.com--Selection on Affirmative Action
    Features a collection of links to key documents, legal decisions and analysis, histories, and timelines regarding the origins and development of affirmative action. Note: an excellent general site for women's history resources.
  • Head Start: A Historical Perspective
    A timeline highlighting major events in the development of the Head Start program. Maintained by the Illinois Head Start Association. Does not include primary sources.
  • LBJ Archives
    The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, part of a system of presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, preserves and makes available for research the papers and memorabilia of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In addition, the Library actively collects the papers of Johnson's contemporaries and conducts an oral history program designed to supplement the written record. Many of these primary sources are available online.