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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the major accomplishments of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society
  • Identify the legal advances made in the area of civil rights
  • Explain how Lyndon Johnson deepened the American commitment in Vietnam

On November 27, 1963, a few days after taking the oath of office, President Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and vowed to accomplish the goals that John F. Kennedy had set and to expand the role of the federal government in securing economic opportunity and civil rights for all. Johnson brought to his presidency a vision of a Great Society    in which everyone could share in the opportunities for a better life that the United States offered, and in which the words “liberty and justice for all” would have real meaning.

The great society

In May 1964, in a speech at the University of Michigan, Lyndon Johnson described in detail his vision of the Great Society he planned to create ( [link] ). When the Eighty-Ninth Congress convened the following January, he and his supporters began their effort to turn the promise into reality. By combatting racial discrimination and attempting to eliminate poverty, the reforms of the Johnson administration changed the nation.

Photograph (a) shows President Johnson in academic regalia, standing alongside a crowd at the University of Michigan. Photograph (b) shows Johnson speaking while seated at a table beside an elderly woman; both have small microphones in front of them.
In a speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 22, 1964 (a), President Johnson announced some of his goals for the Great Society. These included rebuilding cities, preserving the natural environment, and improving education. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in his hometown of Johnson City, Texas, alongside his childhood schoolteacher, Kate Deadrich Loney (b). (credit a: modification of work by Cecil Stoughton)

One of the chief pieces of legislation that Congress passed in 1965 was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ( [link] ). Johnson, a former teacher, realized that a lack of education was the primary cause of poverty and other social problems. Educational reform was thus an important pillar of the society he hoped to build. This act provided increased federal funding to both elementary and secondary schools, allocating more than $1 billion for the purchase of books and library materials, and the creation of educational programs for disadvantaged children. The Higher Education Act , signed into law the same year, provided scholarships and low-interest loans for the poor, increased federal funding for colleges and universities, and created a corps of teachers to serve schools in impoverished areas.

Education was not the only area toward which Johnson directed his attention. Consumer protection laws were also passed that improved the safety of meat and poultry, placed warning labels on cigarette packages, required “truth in lending” by creditors, and set safety standards for motor vehicles. Funds were provided to improve public transportation and to fund high-speed mass transit. To protect the environment, the Johnson administration created laws protecting air and water quality, regulating the disposal of solid waste, preserving wilderness areas, and protecting endangered species. All of these laws fit within Johnson’s plan to make the United States a better place to live. Perhaps influenced by Kennedy’s commitment to the arts, Johnson also signed legislation creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provided funding for artists and scholars. The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 authorized the creation of the private, not-for-profit Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helped launch the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) in 1970.

Questions & Answers

hi...can you state benefit of U.S constitution
Chimi Reply
bill of rights
Tom
Among the major cause of American civil war, can I have a brief account on social cause?
Rinchen Reply
The issue of slavery between South America and North America that lead to the American Civil War
Sanusi
what was the purpose of Operation Valkyrie?
Matthew Reply
I have no idea
Sanusi
which culture developed the writting system in the western hemisphere?
cierra Reply
the phoenicians
Victor
Treaty of Greenville
The Reply
Please keep in mind that it is not allowed to promote any social groups (whatsapp, facebook, etc...) or exchange phone numbers or email addresses on our platform.
QuizOver Reply
Columbus didn't discover ish. He stole America from the Natives
LovingN Reply
Who was Nat Turner? What was the cause and impact of the Nat Turner Rebellion?
LovingN
which culture developed the only writing systems in the western hemisphere
rose Reply
economic causes of American civil war
Samten Reply
do you mean the major causes of American civil war
CHEGWE
yes
Samten
idealistic birth of industries in great britain
Rinchen Reply
how doent show that Martin king jr dies where say that on google.com
Jessica Reply
what year was America found
Adaregba Reply
i think America was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the year 1492
Samten
yes samten ,it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in August 3rd 1492
CHEGWE
but, we're was the name (America gotten from
CHEGWE
i could't understand what are you asking about
Samten
sorry i don't have this answer
Samten
ok
CHEGWE
how did texas settlers view of mexico and its people contribute to the history of texas in the 1830s
Princess Reply
They felt that they had to get their independence and be annexed to the U.S.
tapha
Which of the following does NOT represent an outcome of Reconstruction that contributed to the building of southern white resentment?
Marcela Reply
Which of the following best represents the business strategy of J. Pierpont Morgan in building his economic standing in the American capitalist system?
Marcela
Where in the colonies did the British military concentrate their attacks?
Datavious Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, U.s. history. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11740/1.3
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