May 22, 1964 – The U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms to bring an “end to poverty and racial injustice” in America.
The Great Society program, with its name coined from one of Johnson’s speeches, became Johnson’s agenda for Congress in January 1965: aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, Medicaid, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, a wide-scale fight against poverty, control and prevention of crime, and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Congress, at times augmenting or amending, enacted most of Johnson’s recommendations. Johnson’s achievements in social policy were made possible by liberal strength, especially after the Democratic landslide of 1964.
After the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, for the first time, a person who was not elderly or disabled could receive need-based aid from the U.S. government.
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s
Remarks at the University of Michigan
May 22, 1964
President Hatcher, Governor Romney, Senators McNamara and Hart, Congressmen Meader and Staebler, and other members of the fine Michigan delegation, members of the graduating class, my fellow Americans:
It is a great pleasure to be here today. This university has been coeducational since 1870, but I do not believe it was on the basis of your accomplishments that a Detroit high school girl said, “In choosing a college, you first have to decide whether you want a coeducational school or an educational school.”
Well, we can find both here at Michigan, although perhaps at different hours.
I came out here today very anxious to meet the Michigan student whose father told a friend of mine that his son’s education had been a real value. It stopped his mother from bragging about him.
I have come today from the turmoil of your Capital to the tranquility of your campus to speak about the future of your country.
The purpose of protecting the life of our Nation and preserving the liberty of our citizens is to pursue the happiness of our people. Our success in that pursuit is the test of our success as a Nation.
For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.
The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.
Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.
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 our time. But that is just the beginning.
For entire speech: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/640522.asp
The Great Society at 50
May 19, 2014 by Karen Tumulty Washington Post
One day shortly after starting his new job as presidential adviser and speechwriter, Richard N. Goodwin was summoned to see the boss. Not to the Oval Office, but to the White House swimming pool, where Lyndon B. Johnson often went to ruminate.
Goodwin found the leader of the free world naked, doing a languorous sidestroke. Johnson invited him and top aide Bill Moyers to doff their own clothes: “Come on in, boys. It’ll do you good.”
It was an unorthodox manner of conducting official business. As they bobbed in the tepid water, the president “began to talk as if he were addressing some larger, imagined audience of the mind,” Goodwin later wrote in his memoir. The 32-year-old speechwriter forgot his chagrin as he was drawn by “the powerful flow of Johnson’s will, exhorting, explaining, trying to tell me something about himself, seeking not agreement — he knew he had that — but belief.”
This happened in early April 1964, just a little more than four months after a tragedy in Dallas had made Johnson the 36th president of the United States.
“I never thought I’d have the power,” Johnson told Goodwin and Moyers. “I wanted power to use it. And I’m going to use it.”
For more at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/05/17/the-great-society-at-50/ http://youtu.be/kx0K637mBVE?t=1m51s
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