Click on the link here for Audio Player: LBJ – State of The Union – 1965
This is the second State of The Union Address by President Lyndon Johnson, delivered on January 4, 1965. His address for 1964 laid the groundwork for the sweeping changes he was proposing by declaring A War On Poverty. By 1965, he added to those changes in what was referred to as The Great Society, or the logical extension to The New Deal of FDR and the Fair Deal of Truman. Although his domestic programs held considerable popularity, the looming specter of the War in Vietnam started casting doubts on the Johnson Administration’s Foreign Policy which, as the months went by, assumed larger and larger proportions in the already crowded agenda.
LBJ: “I propose that we begin a program in education to ensure every American child the fullest development of his mind and skills.
I propose that we begin a massive attack on crippling and killing diseases.
I propose that we launch a national effort to make the American city a better and a more stimulating place to live.
I propose that we increase the beauty of America and end the poisoning of our rivers and the air that we breathe.
I propose that we carry out a new program to develop regions of our country that are now suffering from distress and depression.
I propose that we make new efforts to control and prevent crime and delinquency.
I propose that we eliminate every remaining obstacle to the right and the opportunity to vote.
I propose that we honor and support the achievements of thought and the creations of art.
I propose that we make an all-out campaign against waste and inefficiency.”
No doubt the proposals President Johnson put forth set about to right generations of wrongs in American society. And had he only a domestic agenda to deal with, LBJ’s Presidency would have been a great success. But it was the Vietnam War that overshadowed much of the accomplishments his Administration had achieved.
But this State of The Union Address in 1965 held much promise and optimism. And in January of 1965 we weren’t looking too far into the future.
Here is that complete address as given on January 4, 1965.
- From the archives: The State of the Union: An American tradition (democrats.org)
- How to watch Obama’s State of the Union address. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Assessing the Address: State of the Union Lesson Ideas (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Lyndon Johnson as visionary: Great Society, speech at University of Michigan (timpanogos.wordpress.com)