Miller Center

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973)

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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

Facts about Lyndon B. Johnson

36th President of the United States (1963 – 1969)
August 27, 1908, Johnson City, Texas
Political Party
January 22, 1973
Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos), graduated 1930; Georgetown Law School, attended 1934
Disciples of Christ
November 17, 1934, to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor (1912–2007)
Lynda Bird (1944– ); Luci Baines (1947– )
Teacher, Public Official
Near Johnson City, Texas

The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963–1969 (1971)

Lyndon B. Johnson Exhibits

‘A Bipartisan Transportation Bill’

In this call, Johnson spells out his troubles on getting the Transportation Bill passed to a republican ally, Robert Anderson. The effort to consolidate over 30 separate agencies into one department headed by a Cabinet level official was bipartisan, having been proposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower just before he left office in 1961; likewise, opposition to the bill was bipartisan, with Democratic congressmen from districts with shipping ports yielding to pressure from maritime unions. Robert Anderson had served as U.S. Secretary of The Treasury in the second Eisenhower administration, from 1957 through 1961. He was also a fellow Texan and had sold a Texas radio station to Johnson's wife, Lady Bird, in 1943.

‘LBJ on Ted Sorensen’

Late in the evening, the President recorded a lengthy call of over 22 minutes with his confidants on the Bobby Baker scandal, in which an insurance salesmen had testified that he had given Johnson a kickback-a hi-fi stereo set-in exchange for Johnson purchasing a life insurance policy from him. The full conversation offers a sense of Johnson's relationship with his closest advisers, some of the ways he arrived at decisions, and his administration's complicated relationship with the press. In this edited snippet, Johnson worried that making public statements on the matter was a mistake, a sentiment echoed by Ted Sorensen. A few days earlier, Johnson had made a statement in a press conference, then left. Several reporters claimed he fled the room to avoid further questions. In the following clip, Johnson explained that Sorensen thought they were "the biggest damned fools he's ever dealt with" and that Sorensen "told me tonight he just thought I was a big, fat, cigar-puffing, potbellied numskull by following the advice to get out here in front of the press."

‘Troop Levels’

Sending troops into harm's way is arguably the most difficult decision a president confronts. The White House tapes of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon capture remarkably intimate and candid behind-the-scenes views of presidents agonizing over this decision in another war fought in distant lands for complex geo-political reasons.

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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)

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