Tag Archives: Great Society

LBJ and the Great Society

CLIVE: School. Yep, yep. That’s how your mother and I got to talking. One day in civics they do whole lesson on LBJ, you know LBJ?
ANTHONY: Well, yeah, I—
CLIVE: Great Society. Have and have nots and til then Gloria Giosa barely gave me the time of day, right? She had herself a little after school job down the town hall and soon’s the bell rang off she go but one day Gloria Giosa and I got to talking and it turned out Gloria Giosa and I saw things eye to eye. We was all fired about about LBJ and it was spring time and we thought we was gonna go make a difference and we both signed up to hand out the free lunch…

Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, promoted a series of domestic programs in the 1960s that were known as the Great Society. The two main goals of the programs were to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. In scope, the Great Society most closely resembled Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Great Society programs were enacted throughout the 1960s. Notable programs that were introduced during the Great Society and continue to this day include Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans act, improvements to Social Security, the National Endowment for the Arts, and federal funding for education.

Highlight from Johnson’s Great Society speech, given in 1964 in Ann Arbor, MI:

“The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in out time. But that is just the beginning.

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community.

It is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake and for what is adds to the understanding of the race. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.

But most of all, the Great Society is not a safe harbor, a resting place, a final objective, a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.”

Read the full text of Johnson’s speech here.