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🥶 Unit 8

  •  ⏱️3 min read

8.9 The Great Society

Robby May

robby may

⏱️ June 2, 2020


Assassination of JFK

On November 22, 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas when Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated while riding in a motorcade in downtown Dallas. 

The American people were bewildered by the rapid sequence of events: the brutal killing of their young president, the televised slaying of Oswald by Jack Ruby, the composure and dignity of Jackie Kennedy at the state funeral and the hurried Warren Commission report, which identified Oswald as the lone assassin. 

The Warren Commission, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, concluded that Oswald had acted alone. For years afterward, however, unanswered questions about the events in Dallas produced dozens of conspiracy theories pointing to possible involvement by organized crime, Castro, the CIA, and the FBI. 

🏆Trivia: AP US History - 1950s and 1960s

LBJ Comes to Power

LBJ’s assets were very real – he possessed an intimate knowledge of Congress, incredible energy and determination to succeed, as well as a fierce ego. When a young marine officer tried to direct him to the proper helicopter, saying “This one is yours,” Johnson replied “Son, they are all my helicopters.” LBJ’s height and intensity gave him a powerful presence, but he lacked Kennedy’s wit and charm. However, he possessed a far greater ability than Kennedy in dealing with Congress. He entered the White House with more than 30 years of experience in Washington as a legislative aide, congressmen and senator. He was famed for the “Johnson treatment,” a legendary ability to use personal persuasion and getting in the personal space of the person he was pressuring to reach his goals. 

The War on Poverty

The best-selling book on poverty, The Other America, helped to focus national attention on the 40 million Americans still living in poverty. Johnson responded in 1964 by declaring an unconditional war on poverty.

The Democratic Congress gave the president almost everything that he asked for by creating the Office of Economic Opportunity and providing this antipoverty agency with a billion-dollar budget. The OEO sponsored a wide variety of self-help programs for the poor, such as Head Start for preschoolers, the Job Corps for vocational education, literacy programs, and legal services.

The Great Society

Johnson unleashed a program of domestic policy, which he called the Great Society, leaning on one of his greatest heroes, FDR. Hundreds of laws and programs would be passed as a part of the Great Society. 

Medicare and Medicaid

mandated health insurance under the Social Security program for Americans over age 65 and a supplemental Medicaid program for the poor.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

provided more than $1 billion in federal aid, the largest going to school districts with the highest percentage of impoverished students.

Food Stamp Act

expanded the federal program to help poor people by food stamps.

National Foundation of the Arts and Humanities

provided federal funding for arts and other creative and scholarly projects

Higher Education Act

provided federal scholarships for college education.

Child Nutrition Act

added breakfasts to the school lunch program.

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🐎  Unit 4: 1800-1848

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🥶  Unit 8: 1945-1980

📲  Unit 9: 1980-Present

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