Lyndon Johnson's Greatest Accomplishment Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1044 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

LBJ

Though Lyndon Johnson has often been eclipsed by the wake of the Kennedy administration, and John F, Kennedy's tragic death, his contributions to social change were significant and in need of address. The foundation of his most heartfelt demands for social change have to do with what he termed a War on Poverty. Up to this point in this nation, and arguably globally, the idea of poverty was an idea based on the Protistant Ethic, where those who work hard and live good lives will prosper. The remaining populations, being those who do not prosper, must be doing something wrong and therefore are somehow flawed and incapable of redemptions and/or assistance. This is despite the clear demonstration that poverty is a social condition. What Johnson did in his war on poverty, I argue is the most foundational idea associated with his term in office, change the mind of the nation, "the major contribution of the War on Poverty might be to render legitimate the grievances of the poor."

Zarefsky 193)

Despite the intentions of the Civil Rights movement, attempting to label poverty as a collection of social issues rather than individual personal failings or simply a condition of a lack of money, "most Americans remained unaware of the problem of poverty at the time that Lyndon Johnson took office."

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Zarefsky 26) Johnson sought to extend the intentions of JFK to his own term, through his well developed knowledge of the need for social change, not just a dissolution of race and gender discrimination, but through the acknowledgement that the poor are also heavily discriminated against and need social assistance, especially with regard to opportunity to make their individual situations and that of the nation better.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Lyndon Johnson's Greatest Accomplishment Assignment

President Johnson engaged in a persuasive campaign to change this public judgment. He followed the State of the Union address with a series of speeches in the spring of 1964 to informal gatherings, university audiences, conventions, and civic groups, ranging, according to Doris Kearns, "from the Daughters of the American Revolution to the Socialist Party, from the Business Council to the AFL-CIO." 15 by his own account, the president chose to emphasize the goals rather than the contents of the poverty program. His basic message to the nation was that "the War on Poverty was not a partisan effort. It was a moral obligation and its success rested on every one of us." 16 These memorable, though vague, statements of objectives answered a vital need, by conveying a sense of Johnson's ability quickly to cope with the problems of the presidency. 17

Zarefsky 26)

The foundations of his work, did not end with the rhetorical and yet his messages to the nation were based on a vague but persuasive description, much like the introduction to a novel. As the plans and programs of collective design began to become realizations of practical and well thought programs the nation began to understand the importance of poverty as a social concern and the manner in which the dissolution of poverty could help the whole.

In addition to his speeches, the president made personal visits to poverty-stricken areas. He also… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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