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

‘The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King’

President Johnson's tapes provide a remarkable inside look at city, state, and federal government officials struggling to establish control over the civil unrest in large, urban cities such as Detroit, Washington DC, and Chicago in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

‘LBJ and Richard Russell on Vietnam’

Just prior to 11 a.m., the President placed a call to his friend, mentor, and sometime antagonist, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. In this conversation, Johnson reveals his deeply conflicted thinking on Vietnam, a profound sense of anxiety absent from his public remarks on the subject. The exchange offers an intimate and revealing portrait of Johnson weighing perhaps the most difficult decision he ever had to make.

‘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.

‘More War or More Appeasement’

In this discussion with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, President Johnson seemed to backtrack from both his public and private statements on Vietnam and to reconsider the wisdom of escalation. In the process, he displayed a level of assertiveness on an issue where heretofore he had deferred to his advisers or avoided discussing the broad outlines of policy. The major issue here was Johnson's criticism of the announced withdrawal of 1,000 troops from South Vietnam, a move that many commentators cite as evidence that President Kennedy would not have escalated the war in Southeast Asia.

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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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