When one thinks of the president Lyndon Baines Johnson, typically one associates him with the turbulent period we call the sixties.' Whether or not his term in office merely coincided with this era is an issue often debated. Nonetheless, his commanding presence has left an indelible mark on history. However, the fact that Johnson served as president during the largest commitment of troops to the Vietnam conflict as well as in sight of the birth of modern welfare and other social programs is not coincidental. His initiatives in these areas were largely due to his views on foreign and domestic policies. More specifically, Lyndon Johnson demonstrated a high idealism in many respects. This attitude that was reflected in his policies truly define Johnson as being firm in his convictions; so much so that his leadership strategies were what some may refer to as unilateral and self executed. Unlike some presidents before and after him who relied heavily on the council and direction of their own administration, Lyndon's approach was more self guided. This phenomenon came in under the shadow of the JFK assignation and subsequent presidency. With this and numerous other facts in mind, what will be done in this paper is an overview of the Johnson presidency. The unilateralism of Johnson's top to bottom micro management of the Vietnam War as well as his Great Society campaign will be examined, as well as the cloud that loomed over his residency in the White House after the JFK tragedy.
[...] In short, his view was that there needed to be an overhaul in Social Security. So, this was the next area to attack. And, Social Security benefits alone would lift 1.4 million Americans above the poverty line (Califano, 1991).” In view of the overwhelming numbers and percentages that would result, Johnson was sure that his social programs, including welfare reform, public school funding and an increase in Social Security benefits, would bring about what his great society outlined. Opponents of his social programs, however, pointed to the overtaxing tendencies of his initiatives, coupled with a potential to stymie the US market and thus economy. [...]
[...] After all, if indeed he demonstrated such an appeal to the majority of Americans, so much so that he defeated his opponent Goldwater in a landslide victory in 1964. And naturally his years in Congress offered no opportunity to explain this since his function was commensurate with other equal congressmen whom he had to work with, obviously butting heads occasionally. If one is pressed for an answer to this question, one must go back to his years in the White House as vice-president. [...]
[...] In executing the principles of Great Society” as an initiative there are a number of factors to consider. Johnson immediately found how hard this would be. First and foremost, the only way to increase the dollar amount of welfare in the country would be to raise taxes. This is naturally an unpopular decision. However, given the magnitude to which Johnson intended to alter the then current federal assistance standards, this seemed necessary. And ultimately, in 1967, “Johnson reluctantly concluded that he had to ask Congress for more taxes (Califano, 1991).” In doing so, he felt that he would make it harder to work with the legislative body, since many of them may disagree with his proposal; especially one on the scale in which he was asking for. [...]
[...] One the one hand, through introducing high numbers of American troops in the region, a show of strength was intended to guard against an appearance of weakness. On the other hand, by limiting the conflict to Vietnam itself, the idea that the war would come to a more expedient and abrupt end at one time. Some have argued that “Johnson had a better approach to Vietnam than Goldwater. They couldn't be more specific except to say that LBJ could bring the battle to an end if given a little latitude (Eskow, 1993).” The specifics concerning LBJ's strategy for Vietnam, while being known openly by the public, possessed a vagueness to it as a whole. [...]
[...] Johnson will be remembered as a president whose management of the country was characterized by a to bottom” one as well as a leader whose domestic policies overshadowed his foreign ones. Bibliography Busby, Horace. The Thirty-First of March. : New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Beschloss, Michael. Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's secret. New York: Simon and Schuster Califano, Joseph N. The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Baines Johnson. New York: Simon and Schuster Eskow, Dennis. Lyndon Baines Johnson. New York: Franklin Watts Hyman, Muslin. [...]
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