LBJ - The Great Society and the Quality Of American life in 1965.
LBJ – The Great Society and the Quality Of American life in 1965.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – President Lyndon Johnson – State of The Union – Jan. 4, 1965 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

Fifty years ago yesterday, President Lyndon Johnson ran down his proposals for The Great Society. Discussing the plight of the American cities, the lack of education in our urban centers. The proposals on how to fight crime and poverty, how to turn centers of urban decay into places of beauty, proposals on how to lift the spirit of the American people.

It was President Johnson’s intention of carrying on the New Deal of FDR. By re-invigorating many of the programs proposed and bringing new ones to the table, LBJ was fully intending on leaving a legacy of prosperity and greater understanding among Americans.

If only.

His proposals in the area of Civil Rights were vehemently rejected by the Southern wing of the Democratic Party, the Dixiecrats as they came to be known. The War in Vietnam would loom larger in his Presidency and the protests to it would grow larger and more vocal with each passing day.

It all looked good on paper. And it’s been said that, if there was no Vietnam War, LBJ would have been one of the most successful Presidents in American history.

So as is customary each year, the President gives a status report – the condition of the country the previous 365 days. Here is that State of The Union Address, as given to a joint session of Congress on January 4th, 1965.

50 years ago this week.

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