Lyndon Johnson began his rule as president and ended it in sadness. He

took over after John F. Kennedy's assassination, and ended in the middle of

the Vietnam War. This war was one that tore the United States in half. Some

people thought that it was good to defend democracy, and some people

thought that our country had no business butting into the problems of another


But Lyndon Johnson was good at getting what he wanted. He was called

the greatest "floor leader" of our country's presidents. This means that he

could go in front of Congress and get his way. He was sometimes accused of

being intimidating and of using force to get what he wanted. But mostly, he

would persuade people with a saying from his home territory, Texas. He

would look someone in the eye and stare them down and say that his daddy

never trusted anyone who couldn't look a man straight in the eye.

Johnson was born in 1908 in Johnson City, Texas. In 1937, he was

elected to the House of Representatives. In 1953, he was elected leader of the

Senate Democrats and in 1963 he became President after John F. Kennedy

was killed. he dies in Texas, his home, in 1973. Texas was his home and

always stayed with him. He thought of the whole world as a big Texas. He

believed in old fashioned values, because of his background. His father was a

teacher, and his great-grandfather died in the battle of the Alamo. He was a

true patriot, and that was why he refused to back out of the war in Vietnam.

He said he would not be the first American president to lose a war.

Johnson married Claudia Taylor, who was the daughter of a wealthy

rancher. She was always called "Lady Bird." He went to college. Then he

served in the Navy during World War Two. Then in 1937, Johnson ran for

Congress against five anti- New Deal candidates. The New Deal was

something that Roosevelt wanted to have to create jobs and success in

America. Johnson was for it. He won, and was re-elected five more times. He

was very popular. Then in 1948, in a race for the Senate that was pretty dirty

because each side accussed the other of vote stealing, he was elected anyway.

After this, the Senate was where he loved to be, because his true self was a

big advantage for him. He used his ability to convince people to agree with

him in the Senate, and it usually worked. He was really well respected, and

some people were afraid of him. He hardly ever lost an argument.He was the

Senate Majority Leader for six years, and he helped make the Civil Rights

Act of 1957 and the National Space Act of 1958.

When Kennedy was President, Johnson didn't like it. He was the Vice-

President because he was a good balance for Kennedy, but he didn't really

agree with a lot of Kennedy's thinking. One big mistake he made, after

Kennedy was killed and he took over, was that he passed alot of Kennedy's

laws just to keep his memory alive and honor him, and some of those ideas

weren't really good ones. Because Johnson was still a believer in the New

Deal, and government spending to solve problems, he became a target of the


Johnson was in many ways really different from Kennedy. He didn't have

any family money or personal glamour. His success had come from hard

work only. When he stopped working in the Senate to become Kennedy's

running mate, he did not like the restrictions of his position. He was tall,

gawky and a generally bad public speaker. He could be really mean, which

was very different from Kennedy. But, he was like Kennedy in that he could

really work with Congress and had a lot of political knowledge. His

knowledge was sort of from his gut, not polished and thought through, like

Kennedy's. He tried to change his plan for America from Kennedy's by

calling it the "Great Society" instead of the "New Frontier." He wanted to

make his own name, not be Kennedy's shadow.

Under the "Great Society" that Johnson created what he wanted: