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The Great Society
Lyndon B. Johnson was successful with his program "The Great Society," was unsuccessful with the Vietnam War, and was ultimately defeated by his personal crusades.
The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 assisted young Americans who lacked skills, who did not complete their education because of hardships and because they were too poor, by creating a job Corps, a Work-Training Program, and a Work Study Program . The creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1964 helped administrate programs such as Community Action, Head Start, VISTA, as well as others ; it helped with the distribution of federal funds targeting poverty. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed the requirements that would-be voters in the United States take literacy tests to qualify to register to vote, provided federal registration of voters in areas that had less than 50 percent of eligible voters registered, provided for Department of Justice oversight to registration which included the Department's approval for any change in voting law in districts that were composed of at least 5 percent African-American population .
In November of 1966, Robert McNamara concluded that the administration would have to increase troop strength to 400,000 and possibly 600,000 in 1967; this would not guarantee success or victory, but seemed likely to forestall a Communist takeover of the Sourth or as a "no-decision," with U.S. killed in action running at as many as 1,000 a month . The North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front kept winning, even as Johnson poured more money, firepower, and men into the war effort and ultimately, the President came to be identified personally with a war that seemed unwinnable; the result, his popularity sagged drastically, dipping below 30 percent in approval ratings . Ultimately, because of Johnson's desire to push his Great Society programs forward, he guided the US to play a defensive role on the Vietnam war and this resulted in the massive loss of life because you cannot win a war on the defensive.
Johnson had devoted a lifetime to politics, had acquired an unusually large amount of power, and had used it to promote change. But he had tried to do more than the resources of his nation, his office, and his talents would allow. He had tried to control events thousands of miles from home at the same time that he attempted to reshape the life of the US. Johnson's accomplishments were not insignificant, but they fell short of the magnitude of the problems he faced. As 1966 came to a close, Johnson's frustration with trying to defeat the Communists in Vietnam, hold the economy together, sustain Great Society programs, and position himself and the Democrats for another successful election campaign in 1968 became almost more than he could bear and was a prelude for worse to come. Johnson's death came quietly, in lonely seclusion, after a stormy life played out largely in public view. All of the stress and turmoil as well as his personalization of the war in Vietnam about his boys, his guns, his planes moved it from a political and national event on to a personal crusade.
Caro, Robert. The Years of Lyndon B. Johnson: Means of Ascent. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1990.
A book that was extremely helpful connecting and summarizing the different points in Johnson's life.
Dallek, Robert. "Character Above All: Lyndon B. Johnson Essay." PBS.ORG. 8 Dec 2005 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/character/essays/johnson.html
This web-site provided valuable information into the character and motivations of Lyndon B. Johnson. It helped with the understanding of what things became his personal crusades.
Dallek, Robert. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1961-1973. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
This bibliography about Johnson's Presidential years gave invaluable information into his motivations, ideas, convictions as to why he did the things he did and how he went about accomplishing them. Supplied massive amounts of dates, people, places and connected the dots.
Haywood, Richard and Haynes Johnson. Lyndon. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1973
This source helped understanding the dominant, flawed, forceful figure who came to presidential power on a clap of thunder and a beat of drums, who all his life aroused strong emotion and controversy (taken from book jacket).
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia. "Voting Rights Act."
This Article helped with the data about the Voting Rights Act.