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

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
Writings

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

Lyndon B. Johnson Exhibits

‘LBJ Explains His Policy Priorities To Walter Reuther’

In this brief conversation excerpt, recorded a month after President Kennedy's assassination, President Johnson laid out some of his policy priorities. Johnson told Walter Reuther, the president of United Auto Workers, that that he planned to cut excess production in the nation's atomic bomb program and shift the money that would be saved to "human needs." The resulting social programs would soon become Johnson's War on Poverty. In this very early conception, the resulting anti-poverty program would be primarily about jobs and education.

‘LBJ on Women in Politics’

LBJ on women in politics

‘Janet Leigh’s FBI Background Check’

President Lyndon B. Johnson had ordered a background check on the popular actress Janet Leigh as a precursor to appointing her to the Peace Corps National Advisory Council and possibly as ambassador to Finland. In this secretly recorded call, President Johnson heard from his former neighbor, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, on the FBI's report. The star of such films as The Manchurian Candidate (1962, dir. John Frankenheimer) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963, dir. George Sidney), Leigh's most famous scene was from the 1960 film Psycho (dir. Alfred Hitchcock) when her character was attacked in the shower at the Bates Motel. In an ironic choice of words here, Hoover declared that Leigh was "absolutely clean."

‘LBJ and Eisenhower on Bombing North Vietnam’

In an effort to provide space for negotiations during the Vietnam War, Johnson ordered a cessation of air strikes against North Vietnam on December 25, 1965. After one month of failed attempts to use diplomacy to promote peace, President Johnson voiced his intentions to former President Eisenhower to proceed with offensive attacks against the North. In a telephone conversation recorded on January 25, 1966, Johnson insisted upon the impossibility of extending the bombing pause without progress in negotiations. Evoking the criticism of Senators Wayne Morse (D-OR) and J. William Fulbright (D-AR) regarding his policy decisions in Southeast Asia, the President turned to Eisenhower for counsel. The General responded by labeling Johnson's critics "overeducated Senators."

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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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