Lyndon B. Johnson,
36th President of the United States (August 27, 1908 - January 22, 1973):
"A Great Society" for the American
people and their fellow men elsewhere was the vision of Lyndon B. Johnson. In
his first years of office he obtained passage of one of the most extensive
legislative programs in the Nation's history. Maintaining collective
security, he carried on the rapidly growing struggle to restrain Communist
encroachment in Viet Nam.
Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson
City, which his family had helped settle. He felt the pinch of rural poverty
as he grew up, working his way through Southwest Texas State Teachers College
(now known as Texas State University-San Marcos); he learned compassion for
the poverty of others when he taught students of Mexican descent.
In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New
Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia "Lady
Bird" Taylor, whom he had married in 1934.
During World War II he served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander,
winning a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House,
Johnson was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest
Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats
won control, Majority Leader. With rare skill he obtained passage of a number
of key Eisenhower measures.
In the 1960 campaign, Johnson, as John F. Kennedy's running mate, was elected
Vice President. On November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson
was sworn in as President.
First he obtained enactment of the measures President Kennedy had been urging
at the time of his death--a new civil rights bill and a tax cut. Next he
urged the Nation "to build a great society, a place where the meaning of
man's life matches the marvels of man's labor." In 1964, Johnson won the
Presidency with 61 percent of the vote and had the widest popular margin in
American history--more than 15,000,000 votes.
The Great Society program became Johnson's agenda for Congress in January
1965: aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, urban renewal,
beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, a wide-scale
fight against poverty, control and prevention of crime and delinquency,
removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Congress, at times augmenting or
amending, rapidly enacted Johnson's recommendations. Millions of elderly
people found succor through the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social
Under Johnson, the country made spectacular explorations of space in a
program he had championed since its start. When three astronauts successfully
orbited the moon in December 1968, Johnson congratulated them: "You've
taken ... all of us, all over the world, into a new era. . . . "
Nevertheless, two overriding crises had been gaining momentum since 1965.
Despite the beginning of new antipoverty and anti-discrimination programs,
unrest and rioting in black ghettos troubled the Nation. President Johnson
steadily exerted his influence against segregation and on behalf of law and
order, but there was no early solution.
The other crisis arose from Viet Nam. Despite Johnson's efforts to end
Communist aggression and achieve a settlement, fighting continued.
Controversy over the war had become acute by the end of March 1968, when he
limited the bombing of North Viet Nam in order to initiate negotiations. At
the same time, he startled the world by withdrawing as a candidate for
re-election so that he might devote his full efforts, unimpeded by politics,
to the quest for peace.
When he left office, peace talks were under way; he did not live to see them
successful, but died suddenly of a heart attack at his Texas ranch on January
Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002):
From Department of Defense
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced April 16 the next
Zumwalt-class destroyer will be named the USS Lyndon B. Johnson.
The selection of Lyndon B. Johnson, designated DDG 1002, continues the Navy
tradition of naming ships after presidents and honors the nation's 36th
USS Lyndon B. Johnson is the 34th ship named by the Navy after a U.S.
"I am pleased to honor President Johnson with the naming of this
ship," Mabus said. "His dedication to a life of public service
included bravely stepping forward to fight for his country during our entry
into World War II."
A Texas congressman, Johnson was the first member of Congress to enlist in
the military following the start of World War II. After his naval service,
Johnson was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1948, where he served as both minority
and majority leader before being elected vice president Nov. 8, 1960.
Following President John F. Kennedy's assassination Nov. 22 1963, Johnson
succeeded to the presidency, finished the remaining term, and was reelected
for a full term as president, by the greatest percentage of total popular
vote (61 percent) ever attained by a presidential candidate.
Johnson's time as president was marked by the passage of programs that
greatly influenced and impacted education, healthcare and civil rights for generations
to come. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, enacting
comprehensive provisions protecting the right to vote and guarding against
racial discrimination. His work on civil rights continued with the passage of
the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed voting rights for all people,
regardless of race.
Johnson signed legislation establishing Medicare, which allowed millions of
elderly Americans access to cheaper medical services. He also launched the
Head Start Program, which provided preschool children from low-income
families with classes, medical care, and other services.
As a naval officer, Johnson requested a combat assignment after the attack on
Pearl Harbor and served in the Pacific theater during World War II. After
returning from active duty service, Johnson reported back to Navy leaders and
Congress on what he believed were deplorable conditions for the warfighters,
and continued to fight for better standards for all military members.
USS Lyndon B. Johnson will be the third Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) destroyer.
Construction began on the ship at General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works April 4
and is expected to deliver to the Navy in fiscal 2018. The multimission DDG
1000 class destroyers are designed for sustained operations in the littorals
and land attack and will provide independent forward presence and deterrence,
support special operations forces, and operate as an integral part of joint
and combined expeditionary forces. This warship integrates numerous critical
technologies, systems, and principles into a complete warfighting system.
Zumwalt ships will be 600 feet in length, have a beam of 80.7 feet, displace
approximately 15,000 tons, and capable of making 30 knots speed. Each ship
will have a crew size of 148 officers and Sailors.