Knowing the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson

Thirty-Sixth President, 1963-1969


Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency after the assassination of President John Kennedy in November 1963.

Johnson declared a “war on poverty” in his 1964 election campaign, challenging Americans to build a “Great Society” and winning the election with more than 61 percent of the popular vote.


Lyndon B. Johnson dealt with racial unrest as well as anti-war protests, as the Vietnam War was highly debated. By 1968, the United States had 548,000 troops in Vietnam; 30,000 American soldiers had fallen. Johnson’s approval ratings, once at 70 percent in mid-1965, dropped dramatically to below 40 percent by 1967.

Major Acts:

Lyndon B. Johnson implemented the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or national origin. This was followed by the Voting Rights act of 1965, which outlawed literacy tests and created voting rights for all regardless of race.

On July 28, 1965 Johnson sent 100,000 troops to Vietnam, waging an escalating war.

Johnson established the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 1966.


Lyndon B. Johnson is largely remembered for the Vietnam War, the most unpopular war in American history.