Successes And Failures Of Lyndon B Johnson Essay

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What were the successes and failures of the presidency of Lyndon Johnson?
Lyndon B Johnson became president of the USA after the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963. In the aftermath of the assassination Johnson committed to continuing Kennedy’s reform programme. The wave of national grief over the death of Kennedy assisted Johnson in pushing the planned reforms. However, the first hurdle Johnson had to overcome was the Presidential election in 1984.
Johnson won the election by a landslide and immediately began implementing his agenda. Kennedy had met resistance in the US Congress to his Civil Rights Bill. However, Johnson forced through the Civil Rights Act in 1964 implementing major reforms and segregation was outlawed in the USA. Johnson followed this up in 1965
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The basis of the Great Society was the effort to reduce poverty and increased government spending on education, health and urban renewal. Increased spending on public schools did contribute to some improvements in educational achievement and funding for students from poor backgrounds did assist these students to attend college. Johnson also increased welfare spending and was responsible for the creation of health insurance programmes for the poor and elderly. Many of the programmes proposed by Johnson were accepted and even expanded on by Congress. While his implementation of the Great Society could be regarded as a success the potential of the programme was impacted by the diversion of finance to fund the war in Vietnam.
Johnson continued and then expanded American military involvement in Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave Johnson the right to use military force without consulting the Senate. As a result the military forces in Vietnam expanded significantly. Up until 1968 Johnson consistently downplayed the impact of the Vietnam War on American society in the hope he could contain the growing protest movement against the