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Johnson, Lyndon B. - 36th President
22 November 1963 to 20 January 1969

Russell Renka
Southeast Missouri State University

General Sources:
    The Miller Center's American President.org site has American President - Lyndon B. Johnson.
    The American Experience The Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson PBS has an overview plus five topics; a Primary Sources - Lyndon B. Johnson with print documents of important speeches, including Vietnam and civil rights; and a Teacher's Guide - Lyndon B. Johnson with a Timeline - Lyndon B. Johnson from 1963 to 1969.
    The Internet Public Library POTUS - Lyndon B. Johnson site has election results, Cabinet offices, and links to biographical sources.
    Archival Collections at the LBJ Library includes several collections referenced below.
    The course syllabus Sixties in stereo: the johnson years from Kent Germany at The University of Virginia has extensive primary resources at their Multimedia and Other Resources sites as well as their primary syllabus site.

Oral Histories:
    The LBJ Library Oral History Home Page has this exceptional collection of interviews--a bit overwhelming without contextual guidance, but ultimately very rewarding.  LBJ Library Oral History List shows who is covered.

Personal Biographies:
    See Character Above All - Lyndon B. Johnson by historian Robert Dallek; American President - Lyndon B. Johnson; Internet Public Library POTUS biography; The American Presidency - Lyndon B. Johnson by historian James T. Patterson; JOHNSON, LYNDON BAINES (1908-1973) from Lewis L. Gould.

1964 Presidential Election:
    Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections has 1964 Election Results.  This was an historic election sweep for Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats, with 61.05 percent of the vote.  Click on the "Counties" for a separate GIF map.  The departure from the 1960 (or earlier) voting pattern is stunningly clear.  The deepest South goes Republican, with Goldwater, on the issue of civil rights; but the border South emphatically does not follow.  Areas of New England and the Midwest went Democratic--some for the first time in the century.  Goldwater won but a single county in six New England states (not rare nowadays, but stunning by 1964 partisan precedents).
    Election of 1964 from The American Presidency Project has the highly contrasted conservative Republican Party Platform associated with Barry Goldwater, and the Great Society oriented Democratic Party Platform.
    See also the Eagleton Institute's Johnson-Goldwater 1964.  Included is an excerpt on Johnson's decision to name Hubert Humphrey rather than Bobby Kennedy to the second spot on the 1964 Democratic ticket; and a transcript of the infamous Daisy Girl commercial against Republican nominee Barry Goldwater.
    Topps cards featuring Johnson and Goldwater are cited at Topps Entertainment Flashback Johnson v Goldwater Picture Cards.
    The Washingtonpost.com Barry Goldwater Dead at 89 in 1998 summarizes major events in Goldwater's long political career.  Another informative obit is PBS Online NewsHour Barry Goldwater-- May 29, 1998, which correctly labels him "the father of modern day conservatism."

1960s History Links:
    See United States History Index:  The 1960's for 1960-1969 to catch many of the topics cited below.

Sudden Transition to Power:
    Coming to power after the Kennedy assassination was wrenching.  See American RadioWorks - The President Calling - Johnson on Johnson's solicitous treatment of Jacqueline Kennedy (American RadioWorks - The President Calling), and on Lady Bird Johnson's recollections via her audio diary American RadioWorks - The President Calling - The Sudden First Lady.

The Warren Commission: 
    Johnson was responsible for naming its members.  American RadioWorks - The President Calling - Lyndon B. Johnson, The Sudden President has Part 4 on LBJ's famous meeting with Senator Richard Russell, who yielded to the President's Treatment and served on this Commission.
    The review of Kennedy's death was published in fall 1964; see NARA JFK Assassination Records: Warren Commission Report; and History Matters, Warren Commission.

Photographic History of Johnson Administration:
LBJ Digital Photo Archive at the Library has three files and about 25 JPEG and TIFF pictures of LBJ and other major figures from the period.  A couple show Johnson on the telephone, a fitting representation of this President.
Lyndon B. Johnson has 69 photographs by Ollie Atkins.  These are part of Camera on Assignment:  The Ollie Atkins Photograph Collection at George Mason University.  Atkins was principal White House photographer for the Saturday Evening Post during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies of 1953-69. 

Telephone Transcripts:
    See the LBJ Library's Description of the Recordings and Transcripts of Coversations and Meetings Collection.   Releases began on 24 September 1999 per September 14 announcement of the Johnson Library (at www.lbjlib.utexas.edu).   See also:  LBJ Recordings and Transcripts from the LBJ Library, and check A Brief History of LBJ Dictabelt Recordings for background on Johnson's use of the presidential telephone.  Johnson above all other presidents was a creature of the telephone, with special communication talents there.  Proof awaits any who sample these tapes.
    C-SPAN sponsors LBJ White House Tapes, a searchable archive of audio transcripts.  In March 2003 these expanded to cover January through March 1966.  The Browse by Category (C-SPAN LBJ WHITE HOUSE TAPES) offers 14 categories.
    American RadioWorks - White House Tapes:  The President Calling by Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis covers the tapped telephone conversations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon from 1961 through 1974.  The specific Johnson file is at American RadioWorks - The President Calling - Johnson.  It has in-depth sections on the post-assassination move to the presidency, on the Selma civil rights crisis in 1965, and on Vietnam.

Civil Rights
    The Johnson Administration put the foundation of contemporary civil rights policy into place.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were enacted with Johnson's special stamp of legislative involvement.  The 1964 landmark law's legislative history is profiled at CongressLink- Narrative: The Civil Rights Act of 1964; but some of the more colorful aspects of its passage are not detailed.  The central role of Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) in 1963 and 1964 is profiled via Dirksen Papers at CongressLink - Reference Sources on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Full text of the law itself is at Civil Rights Act 1964.
     Introduction To Federal Voting Rights Laws from the Department of Justice site outlines the Voting Rights Act from its inception in 1965. 
    Also in 1965, Equal Employment Opportunity Executive Order 11246, As Amended became the landmark first major administrative step of the federal government into affirmative action.  A recent official history included as part of a 1995 report to the President is included under Affirmative Action Review:  Report to the President  with subheading 2. Affirmative Action:  History and Rationale.  A brief and friendly history is also contained at 3. Empirical Research on Affirmative Action in preface to the Johnson period, followed by 4. The Justifications for Affirmative Action; both contain links to the full language of pertinent executive orders and legislative enactments of those periods.
    Civil Rights, 1964-1968 from Dennis M. Simon at Southern Methodist University has "The Civil Rights Movement, 1964-1968" with text and photographs on the major events of the Johnson period.  Included are useful links to the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and Voting Rights Act in 1965.
    A profile of civil rights today is obtained at Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Online Center; much of the origin of this group's agenda arose from the Johnson years.  The legal history is extensive; see LII Law about...Civil Rights and Discrimination.
    Also see below, for more on civil rights:  Oral History Transcripts; Major Speeches and Messages.

Great Society programs:
    Originated in Johnson's May 1964 speech, this term came to denote the outburst of domestic policy programs begun in 1964 and accelerated in the 89th Congress of 1965 and 1966. Great Society lists many of the categories of programs captured in the term, including the most famous--the War on Poverty (cited separately below).
    What Was Really Great About The Great Society by Joseph A. Califano Jr., in the October 1999 edition of The Washington Monthly, is a spirited defense by one of its principal architects.
    The course syllabus Sixties in stereo: the johnson years from Kent Germany at The University of Virginia has extensive primary resources at their Multimedia and Other Resources sites; many of these pertain to the Great Society.
    PBS - JOHN GARDNER - ENGINEER OF THE GREAT SOCIETY is devoted to the career of one of the driving forces behind creation of and administration of many Great Society programs.  The creation of Public Broadcasting System itself ranks among those legacies.

War on Poverty:
    Poverty 1998 - Graph of Poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the official 1959 to 1998 poverty rates, and numbers of poor, by graphic display.  There obviously were significant reductions in overall poverty during the 1960s.  Endless ideological arguments accompany the careful professional analyses of what significance all this has had.

"The Treatment":
    This topic is unique to Lyndon Johnson.  Most web-related Treatment information is captured in the telephone logs shown above, but there are a few exceptions.
    New York Times, The Johnson Treatment - Lyndon B. Johnson and Theodore F. Green is the famous photograph by George Tames of Senate Majority Leader Johnson entreating Rhode Island's aging Senator Green.

Major Speeches and Messages:  (Note - new separate Johnson Speech page is now almost done 1/28/05.
    The American Experience-Johnson-Primary Resources site has 15 Johnson speeches plus the six State of the Union Addresses from 1964 through 1969. Their Real Audio listing includes four of these.  Elsewhere, see Message to Congress:  The Tonkin Gulf Incident on 5 August 1964; Great Society Speech Lyndon B. Johnson 1964; and  'We Shall Overcome' on 15 March 1965 before Congress on behalf of the proposed Voting Rights Act.   See also USA Index on Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1965 Inaugural Address and the State of the Union speeches of 1964 through 1969.  History Channel has RealAudio on the 1965 State of the Union Address and the 31 January 1968 speech renouncing another term as President.   And Selected Speeches of Lyndon Baines Johnson has seven entries, including the 27 November 1963 Address to Congress following JFK Assassination,  the 7 April 1965 "Peace Without Conquest" statement on Vietnam, and Remarks of President Johnson at the LBJ Library Dedication in May 1971.  Johnson on civil rights is shown at American Experience-Johnson Commencement Address at Howard University: To Fulfill These Rights, June 4, 1965, in RealAudio.
    LBJ in the Oval Office by History Out Loud has four RealAudio transcripts:  Johnson's Vietnam Anguish, May 27, 1964; Selected Telephone Conversations Concerning the Special Commission to Investigate the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (The Warren Commission), November 24-29, 1963; Johnson's Address to a Joint Session of Congress introducing the Voting Rights Act, March 15, 1965; and Johnson's Address on Civil Rights, June 4, 1965.
   The americanpresidency.org Audio-Video Archive - Lyndon B. Johnson has 13 audio excerpts.

Oral History Transcripts:
    LBJ Library Oral History Home Page has an extensive and sometimes superb set of on-line interviews in PDF.  The listing of participants is also exceptionally useful for keeping track of who held what positions at what times during the Johnson and preceding Kennedy Administrations.  Not all principles are yet available, and the record weighs towards the historically powerful civil rights topic.  Students of 1960s civil rights policy can review Morris Abram, Charles Evers, James Farmer, Burke Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Mitchell Jr., Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young.
    Former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey was interviewed in 1974-75; voice transcript from C-SPAN is C-SPAN Hubert Humphrey Oral History.

Campaign Commercials:
    Of the 11 classic commercials cited at AllPolitics - Ad Archive, the 1964 "Daisy Girl" commercial may be the most notorious of all.  It was run only once officially, and then innumerable times thereafter by the free media (setting a precedent for the 1988 Willie Horton commercial).  Tune it in to see why it was so inflammatory.  MoviePlayer is required for this site, and can be downloaded from Apple - Products - QuickTime.

Foreign Policy with Johnson:

    War in Vietnam:
    A comprehensive site is The Vietnam War:  Yesterday and Today.  Another excellent overview is at The Wars for Vietnam:  1945 to 1975 from Robert Brigham at Vassar College.  Refer particularly to his Viet Nam War Overview.  Chronology of the war is at Chronology--U.S.-Vietnam Relations.  Included is a link to the famous (or infamous) August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin report to Congress by the President, at AII POW-MIA - The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  An Outline at LBJ & the Search for Enemies shows the major foreign policy events of Johnson's tenure, mostly associated with Southeast Asia.
    Robert McNamara on the Vietnam War is profiled in Conversations with History, at Conversation with Robert McNamara - p. 6 of 8; also see Conversation with Robert McNamara - p. 7 of 8; The Responsibility of a Public Servant.  A series of American History articles are listed at TheHistoryNet Article Index.
    A number of academic course sites have good material on Vietnam.  See Professor Dennis Simon's The Vietnam War, 1965-1968 and New Page 1:  The Election of 1968 for two readable texts with pictures, graphs and links.  These are two parts of a four-part series.
    The Virtual Vietnam Archive is from The Vietnam Archive of Texas Tech University.
    An archive of Vietnam statements during the Johnson years is at The Arrogance of Power - Documents - Week 11 (part of Syllabus and Weekly Assignments History 249 at Temple University).

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964):  The long-suspected political manipulation of evidence on this August 1964 incident has been confirmed with the 30 November 2005 release of a detailed analysis by agency historian Robert J. Hanyok, with supportive documents, from the National Security Agency.  See the NSA's Gulf of Tonkin - 11-30-2005 for synopsis.
    Also see the National Security Archive's Newly Declassified National Security Agency History Questions Early Vietnam War Communications Intelligence dated 1 December 2005.  Hanyok's article in .pdf format at Archives site relea00012 is entitled "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish:  The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964."  The core argument is that there was no second attack but that President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara nonetheless claimed that during efforts to secure the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from the Congress.
    The Avalon Project The Tonkin Gulf Incident; 1964 has the President's message to Congress.  Detailed White House document background is at the Miller Center's WhiteHouseTapes.org - The Gulf of Tonkin, 1964.  H.J. RES 1145 was passed on 7 August 1964 was almost no dissenting votes.  The Senate's brief debate is shown at The Viet Nam Wars - The Senate Debates the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, August 6-7, 1964.  Public Law 88-408 was approved on 10 August 1964 (Modern History Sourcebook The Tonkin Bay Resolution, 1964).  It was not repealed until 1971.

The Space Race and Lunar Landing:
    See preceding links under Kennedy by this title.  Documents index from NASA is at "Key Documents in the History of Space Policy" at history.nasa.gov.
    The first great disaster and setback in human terms for the Apollo Program was the 27 January 1967 fire that killed three astronauts:  see Apollo 1 (AS204) - Tragedy on the Launch Pad and History of Manned Space Flight - The Tragedy of Apollo 1 (with extensive links).

Executive Orders and Proclamations:
    See Federal Register - Executive Orders - Lyndon B. Johnson.

Person of the Year:
    Time Magazine's annual award was a mixed review amidst this President's most difficult year: Lyndon B. Johnson - 1967.

Lady Bird Johnson:
    See PBS, Lady Bird The Biography of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, with two of six Parts on the Johnson presidency period:  Part III, Lady Bird Johnson At the Epicenter (1963-64), and Part IV, Lady Bird Johnson Shattered Dreams -- January 1965 - January 1969.

Obituary of Lyndon B. Johnson:
Lyndon Johnson, 36th President, Is Dead; Was Architect of 'Great Society' Program is from the New York Times on 23 January 1973.


Copyrightę2004-2007, Russell D. Renka