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Lyndon B. Johnson Essay

2719 words - 11 pages


HIS223: Major Issues in U.S. History

Lyndon B. Johnson, most commonly known as LBJ, was an American Vice President and President who served in the White House from 1960 – 1969. In 1963, Vice President Johnson was abruptly sworn in as President of the United States after the unexpected assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. President Johnson would go on to serve not only the remainder of this term, but he would be selected by the people of the nation to serve one more term as nominated and elected president. Strongly backed by the Democratic Party, President Johnson soared and dominated ...view middle of the document...

LBJ came from a long lineage of Texas farmers and ranchers. Born August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, Texas he was the oldest of five children. His parents, Samuel and Rebekah Johnson, each came from strong Baptist roots, both having ancestors who were immensely involved in the church. As a young student, Johnson was known to be awkward but chatty. At the age of sixteen, he attended Southwest Texas State Teachers’ College and ultimately graduated in 1930. He began teaching at various schools across Texas. During these years of teaching, Johnson developed a passion for the impoverished and those who were not allowed access to higher education. As a young political hopeful, Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor on November 17, 1934 after only dating for three months. Taylor, widely known as “Lady Bird”, would become a highly iconic First Lady most noted for her success as a self-made millionaire. Lady Bird used family money she had received to eventually establish a real estate and broadcasting empire. She would go on to largely affect the financial success of Johnson’s political campaigns by investing the family money she has received in an incredibly smart way. However, things were not always as perfect as they appeared. Throughout their marriage, Lady Bird endured many misfortunes concerning her husband. “Lady Bird attended to his every need, laying out his clothes, waiting dinner until all hours, suffering continual invasions of her privacy, abandoning her daughters to be with him, and acquiescing in his dalliances”. There are many sources that say he was absolutely in love with Lady Bird, however, “he also yelled at her, humiliated her in public and private, ignored her emotional needs, and cheated on her”. However, as Joseph A. Califano, Jr. explains in the biography of his time as the President’s advisor, Lady Bird would also stand her ground and politely correct her husband when need be. He goes on to tell a story about LBJ ordering him to remove his tie so he could show him how to tie a real mans know. Califano describes the scene like this:
At this point Lady Bird walked in. “Look at Joe’s tie,” Johnson said beaming. “He’s got a man’s knot now, not a limp one.” Mrs. Johnson looked at me and then at her husband, and said, “Maybe Joe likes his tie the other way, darling.” With that, she had made it clear, nicely but quite firmly, that the President had overstepped.
The pair had two daughters, both of whom carried on the famous initials LBJ. Even the family dog, Little Beagle Johnson, had the honor to bear such initials.

LBJ campaigned during the 1960 presidential election for the Democratic nomination but was unsuccessful. However, he was chosen by then Senator, John F. Kennedy (JFK) to be his running mate in his active campaign for United States Presidency. JFK did not necessarily want LBJ as Vice President, meaning, he was certainly...

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