Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) was the 36th President of the United States, serving from 1963 to 1969. He was born on August 27, 1908, in Stonewall, Texas, to Samuel Ealy Johnson Jr. and Rebekah Baines Johnson. He grew up in a rural community, and his family was not wealthy, but they valued education and hard work. Johnson was the oldest of five children.
Education and Early Career
After finishing high school, Johnson attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas. He graduated with a degree in history in 1930 and worked briefly as a teacher. He later earned a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1934 and practiced law in Houston.
Johnson began his political career in 1937 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He quickly rose through the ranks and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1948. He served in the Senate for 12 years, and during that time, he became known for his skill in passing legislation and his ability to work across party lines.
In 1960, Johnson was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with John F. Kennedy. He served as Vice President for less than three years before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Johnson was sworn in as President on the same day.
As President, Johnson inherited a number of important issues, including civil rights, poverty, and the escalating conflict in Vietnam. Johnson was known for his ambitious domestic policy agenda, which he called the Great Society. He signed several landmark pieces of legislation into law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
However, Johnson’s presidency was also defined by the war in Vietnam. Johnson escalated U.S. involvement in the conflict, which had begun under President Kennedy. The war became increasingly unpopular, and Johnson faced intense criticism and protests from anti-war activists.
In March 1968, Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election. He left office in January 1969 and retired to his ranch in Texas.
Personal Life and Legacy
Johnson was married to Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor from 1934 until his death in 1973. They had two daughters, Lynda Bird, and Luci Baines.
Johnson’s presidency is remembered for its accomplishments in civil rights and social welfare, as well as its failures in the Vietnam War. He is also known for his complex and often controversial personality. Johnson died on January 22, 1973, from a heart attack at his ranch in Stonewall, Texas.