April 3, 2009
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908. Johnson had no name from August to November. His father Samuel Ealy Johnson Jr. and his mom Rebekah Baines were poor and living in an old farm house. They named him after his fathers friend W.C. Linden. Usually referred to as LBJ, had a brother, Sam Houston Johnson and 3 sisters, Rebekah, Josefa, and Lucia. They grew up in a small town not so far away from Johnson City, which was named after his father’s cousin James Polk Johnson. When LBJ was around the age of four he ordered his mom to send him to a nearby school. He would ride there on horseback with his cousin. As he grew older he became very cocky about how smart he was. He was elected president of his 11th grade class. He was a very tall and very talkative person. Johnson was growing up during the Great Depression, which was hard because most people had to work for food and his family didn’t have the money and he didn’t fell like working at all. He ran away twice but eventually came back. He was very smart for his age.
Before he was president he was a commissioned officer in the Navy Reserves. He was as well in Congress while he was a Navy Reserve. President Roosevelt needed help in one spot. So LBJ reported to General Douglas MacArthur. While he was serving with him LBJ received a Silver Star. Most people get this for showing much bravery in battle. He did a very good job in this time. Then he moved to the Senate. When he was in the Senate he was the Democratic majority leader. He was in this spot for a while. He was always working.
LBJ was a well known Democrat. He was the majority leader there. He wanted to become a Democrat becuase after WWII the people in the South were becoming Democrats and so did he.
– He wanted to run for President himself. When he was campaigning to be picked Mr. John F. Kennedy was picked over him. Mr. Johnson was mad because he had given up his original spot for this. On November 5, 1960 Mr. John F. Kennedy asked LBJ to be his Vice President. Kennedy was nervous to ask LBJ because he had beaten him out to run for president. Well, Mr. Johnson didn’t think he should be bitter like that so he said yes to Mr. Kennedy. They both did very tough campaigning. They won the 1961 run. Making LBJ the 37th Vice President of the United States. They worked very well together. On November 22, 1963 LBJ’s life would be changed forever. Mr. Kennedy was killed and thanks to the help of Rufus Youngblood Mr. Johnson was safe. He was inaugurated with a very sad Jackie Kennedy, who insisted on being there and many others on Air Force One. He is the only president to be inaugurated on an airplane.
Johnson finished JFK’s last two years and then got four more years of his own, by beating Barry Goldwater by a landslide. Some great things he did were finishing what President Kennedy had started. He passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with Dr. Martin Luther king standing right next to him. He and Mr. King meet many times to talk about rights for African Americans. He also fought the war on poverty. He called this the Great Society. He once said “This administration … declares unconditional (absolute) war on poverty in America”. This quote meant he wanted to stop the war on poverty. He worked very hard on this. He wanted people to get Medicare, and for kids to be well educated, and for everyone to realize that the United States can get through anything if they tried. He passed the Economic Opportunity Act to help the war on poverty. He also passed many acts for education and Medicare. He took many of Mr. Kennedy’s ideas and used them for himself and tried to get everybody to realize that they should work hard. All of these decisions were made because he wanted to help anybody that he could. He also nominated Thurgood Marshall as the first African American Justice of The Supreme Court.
The problem with him though is that he increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. We were losing and he kept sending troops, mostly young teenagers, to go and fight. He increased the death rate of people in Vietnam and didn’t help the war get better. Kids would have chants saying “Hey, Hey, LBJ How many kids are you going to kill today?” He constantly heard this from all people. This is what killed his reputation because he didn’t solve the problem with Vietnam. This turned so many people against him and many started calling him unwanted and unneeded. On March 31, 1968 he announced that he would not run for another term. He said “I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President.” He was greatly upset with what the people had said and didn’t want to continue.
After his term ended he went back to his ranch in Texas. He became a teacher at a local school. On the campus of The University of Texas in Austin is The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. He finished teaching and stayed on his ranch until he died on January 22, 1973. He died from a heart attack at 4:39 p.m. He was honored with a state funeral in Texas. The funeral was held in National City Christian Church. He will never be forgotten, as champion of the Rights of all Americans.