Friday, December 26, 2008

LYNDON JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT - Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President aboard Air Force One after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. This was the first time that the oath of office was administer by a woman, Sarah T. Hughes, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas. Upon becoming President, Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act and other initiatives previously undertaken by President Kennedy. Johnson used his overwhelming victory in his re-election to a second term as President to gather support for his "Great Society" social programs. He was frustrated, however, when despite his efforts for civil rights, the nation's cities erupted into inner city riots, looting and burning. Also, the college campuses erupted into anti-war protests as Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam with the bombing of North Vietnam and the commitment of increasing numbers of troops. In retrospect, one can argue that Johnson should be considered to be one of our greatest presidents because of his success in pushing through historic civil rights and social programs. When Johnson stepped down as President, however, he did so as a very frustrated and disappointed individual because of both the civil unrest throughout the country and the failure of his policies with respect to the escalation of the war in Vietnam.