81. Lyndon B. Johnson: 36th President of the U.S.



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Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th president of the United States of America. He took office on November 22, 1963, after one of the darkest incidents in the history of the country, the day President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. When Johnson was sworn in, he pledged to continue President Kennedy's policies that included civil rights legislation, and education reform. He was reelected in November 1964 by the largest popular vote in the history of the country. Although eligible to run for reelection in 1968, Johnson declined.

Born in Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908, Johnson lived in a small farmhouse in a rural setting. He was a talkative youth who was a bit awkward by some accounts, but that did not stop him from running for office. He was elected his 11th grade class president, and by the time he graduated from, what is now called, Texas State University, he had been a polished politician. His presidency was driven by his philosophy of the "Great Society," which is what he wanted to transform the United States into.

In 1964, Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Bill that protected every American's right to vote, guaranteed access to public accommodations, and withheld federal funds for programs that demonstrated discriminatory practices. During his presidency, the country saw a marked increase in the economy. More people were gainfully employed in the United States primarily because of his Economic Opportunity Act.

His presidency was not without controversy though. He escalated the United States involvement in Southeast Asia. This increase sparked an unprecedented response from the American people who opposed the war. Demonstrations that included violent confrontations between American citizens and government authorities rocked the country. This tainted an otherwise successful run as president.

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