Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973) [cite this] More images » Life in Brief: On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The event thrust Lyndon Johnson into the presidency. A man widely considered to be one of the most expert and brilliant politicians of his time, Johnson would leave office a … more life in brief » Essays about Lyndon B. Johnson Life in Brief Life in Brief: On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The event thrust Lyndon Johnson into the presidency. A man widely considered to be one of the most expert and brilliant politicians of his time, Johnson would leave office a little more than five years later as one of the le… Life Before the Presidency Life Before the Presidency: Lyndon Baines Johnson was pure Texan. His family included some of the earliest settlers of the Lone Star State. They had been cattlemen, cotton farmers, and soldiers for the Confederacy. Lyndon was born in 1908 to Sam and Rebekah Baines Johnson, the first of their five children. His mother was reser… Campaigns and Elections Campaigns and Elections: The Campaign and Election of 1964: Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention (August 27, 1964) Presidential Speech Archive Lyndon Johnson's nomination for the top spot on the Democratic ticket in 1964 was a foregone conclusion, with his glittering l…Domestic Affairs Domestic Affairs: The Lyndon Johnson presidency marked a vast expansion in the role of the national government in domestic affairs. Johnson laid out his vision of that role in a commencement speech at the University of Michigan on May 22, 1964. He called on the nation to move not only toward "the rich society an…Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs: The major initiative in the Lyndon Johnson presidency was the Vietnam War. By 1968, the United States had 548,000 troops in Vietnam and had already lost 30,000 Americans there. Johnson's approval ratings had dropped from 70 percent in mid-1965 to below 40 percent by 1967, and with it, his ma…Life After the Presidency Life After the Presidency: Johnson's health had always been uncertain, and by the time he retired from office, he was not a well man. He spent his remaining years at his beloved ranch in Texas, tending to his investments, preparing his memoirs, and overseeing development of his presidential library. The memoirs, called Th…Family Life Family Life: Both of the Johnson children, Lynda and Luci, were married during their father's presidency, one of them in a simple White House ceremony. With the war overseas, the Johnson family cut back on the lavish entertaining that had been a Kennedy hallmark. There were occasional barbecues at the White…The American Franchise The American Franchise: There is an eloquent irony in the fact that it took a southern President to enact civil rights legislation in America. Lyndon Johnson's triumphs in this critical area emboldened minorities to assert themselves more strongly in society, and he must be considered a major player in it. He also nomi…Impact and Legacy Impact and Legacy: Lyndon Johnson's presidency began and ended with tragedy. He came into office after the death of a popular young President and provided needed continuity and stability. He advanced the Kennedy legacy, obtaining far more than Kennedy would likely have gotten out of Congress, and then won a huge l… About His Administration First Lady Claudia Johnson Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey Secretary of State Dean Rusk (1963–1969) Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford (1968–1969) Robert S. McNamara (1963–1968) Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall (1963–1969) Attorney General Ramsey Clark (1967–1969) Nicholas Katzenbach (1965–1967) Robert F. Kennedy (1963–1965) Postmaster General W. Marvin Watson (1968–1969) Lawrence F. O'Brien (1965–1968) John A. Gronouski (1963–1965) Secretary of the Treasury Joseph Barr (1968–1969) Henry H. Fowler (1965–1968) C. Douglas Dillon (1963–1965) Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz (1963–1969) Secretary of Commerce Cyrus R. Smith (1968–1969) Alexander B. Trowbridge (1967–1968) John T. Connor (1965–1967) Luther H. Hodges (1963–1965) Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman (1963–1969) Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Wilbur J. Cohen (1968–1969) John W. Gardner (1965–1968) Anthony J. Celebrezze (1963–1965) Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Robert C. Wood (1969) Robert C. Weaver (1966–1969) Secretary of Transportion Alan S. Boyd (1967–1969) Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Recordings Johnson Conversation with McGeorge Bundy on Apr 06, 1964 (WH6404.03) Johnson Conversation with Marie Fehmer on Jan 07, 1964 (WH6401.07) Johnson Conversation with George Smathers on Apr 07, 1964 (WH6404.03) Johnson Conversation with Frank Church on Apr 01, 1964 (WH6404.01) Johnson Conversation with Albert Thomas on Feb 03, 1964 (WH6402.04) view all recordings » Facts about Lyndon B. Johnson Term: 36th President of the United States (1963 – 1969) Born: August 27, 1908, Johnson City, Texas Political Party: Democrat Died: January 22, 1973 Nickname: “LBJ” Education: Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos), graduated 1930; Georgetown Law School, attended 1934 Religion: Disciples of Christ Marriage: November 17, 1934, to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor (1912–2007) Children: Lynda Bird (1944– ); Luci Baines (1947– ) Career: Teacher, Public Official Buried: Near Johnson City, Texas WritingsThe Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963–1969 (1971) Lyndon B. Johnson Image Gallery More images » Lyndon B. Johnson Exhibits ‘Poverty, Religion, and Military Base Closures’ This clipping comes from a long conversation in which President Johnson and Speaker of the House John McCormack discussed the intransigence of the House Rules Committee and the controversy surrounding possible federal funding of parochial schools under the economic opportunity bill (which provided the legislative basis for the War on Poverty). The latter issue had emerged when Representative Hugh L. Carey of New York and other northeastern Catholic Democrats offered an amendment that would have authorized direct federal support for parochial schools under the bill's community action titles. The National Education Association, the largest of the two major teachers' unions, bitterly opposed any form of federal aid to religious schools. McCormack, a Massachusetts Democrat and a Catholic, had led an attempt to secure federal aid for parochial schools during the House fight over President Kennedy’s 1961 education bill. In doing so, he had been an ally of the same Catholic congressmen who had inserted the religious issue into the War on Poverty debate in 1964. As Speaker, however, he chose not to challenge the President on such an important piece of legislation. Earlier in the conversation, Johnson had reacted angrily to an attempt by Massachusetts Democrat (and Catholic) Tip O’Neill's to trade support of the poverty bill for a guarantee that the Boston Navy Yard would remain open. In this clip, the President returned to the subject of the navy yards and touched more sympathetically on the pressing economic issue of automation and unemployment in the industrial northeast. ‘Gulf of Tonkin, 1964: Perspectives from the Lyndon Johnson and National Military Command Center Tape’ In August 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution—or Southeast Asia Resolution, as it is officially known—the congressional decree that gave Johnson a broad mandate to wage war in Vietnam. ‘Gatecrashing the White House (Telephone)’ Future Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas, on a secret mission to Puerto Rico at President Johnson's behest, gives the President an update on the latest efforts to bring peace and stability to the Dominican Republic. Because the calls were coming in over an unencrypted line, Fortas and Johnson used a variety of ad hoc codes in an attempt to disguise at least to some degree the topics of their conversations. Part way through, the call is gatecrashed by some uninvited guests, and Fortas tries desperately to get their attention and get them off the line. ‘Vietnam and the Ghost of Ben Milam’ This excerpt from a lengthy conversation between President Johnson and Georgia Senator Richard Russell highlights the serious early concerns about Vietnam prevalent among Johnson and his close advisers. Russell, a longtime Johnson friend and mentor, expressed grave doubts about U.S. involvement, at one point commenting that "it isn't important a damn bit" in response to an LBJ query about the relevance of Vietnam for American interests. In this passage, Russell helped Johnson assess French proposals for regional neutralization in Southeast Asia (supported by Senator Mike Mansfield), as well as the significance of tensions between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Russell also took note of Johnson's reference to Texas hero Ben Milam. A soldier and trader from Kentucky, Ben Milam was a leader of the Texas independence movement in the 1830s. In December 1835, when some leaders of the rebel Texas forces wanted to delay a planned attack on a Mexican army camped at San Antonio until after the winter, Milam disagreed. Instead, he urged other members of the Texas volunteers to join him in a surprise attack: “Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?” The attack succeeded, but as Russell reminded Johnson later in the conversation, Milam was killed by a sniper’s bullet. With this reminder of Milam’s personal fate, Russell implicitly chided Johnson for his earlier bravado in discussing Mansfield’s support of neutralization. more exhibits » Featured video: Speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15, 1965) Presidential Speech Archive Citation Information Consulting Editor Kent Germany Professor Germany is an assistant professor of history and African American studies at the University of South Carolina. His writings include: New Orleans After the Promises: Poverty, Citizenship, and the Search for the Great Society (University of Georgia Press, 2007) Richard Nixon » « John F. Kennedy American President has changed! Click here to take a short survey and tell us what you think!