Lyndon B. Johnson: 36th President: In Office During the Vietnam War

Updated on October 16, 2019
angela_michelle profile image

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.

Official Presidential Photo


Early Political Career and Family Life with Lady Bird

Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, unexpectedly took office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Texas. Lyndon was born on August 27, 1908, in Central Texas from modest means. He was the oldest of five children to Sam Ealy Johnson Jr. and Rebekah Baines Johnson. His father was a farmer. He also worked as a state legislator, which was Johnson's earliest view of politics.

In 1930, he graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (renamed Texas State University), which was in San Marcos, Texas. While he was there, he taught students of Mexican descent in south Texas to help pay for his education. This experience gave him a greater appreciation for those in poverty.
In 1931, he moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as a congressional secretary, where he met many influential people and learned about the political process.
On November 17, 1934, he married his wife Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor. She was a soft-spoken, well-educated woman from a prominent family. They eventually had two daughters, Lynda and Luci. Three years later, he began his political career when he won a spot in the House of Representatives due to a New Deal Platform under Franklin D. Roosevelt. He became the Texas director of the National Youth Administration that helped young people find jobs or volunteer work during the Great Depression.

When World War II began, he served in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, although he continued his service in the House. He won the Silver Star in the South Pacific.

He served a total of six terms in the House before being elected into the Senate in 1948. Five years later, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history. Then a year later, he became the Majority Leader for a total of twelve years in the Senate.

When a President is assassinated, should the Presidency automatically go to the Vice-President?

See results

What Was Lyndon B. Johnson Known For?

Lyndon was with JFK the day of his assassination, which happened on November 22, 1963. Within two hours of his death, Lyndon took the Oath of Office while aboard Air Force One and became the next President as they immediately rushed him to Washington D.C.

He was very qualified for the position, despite not having run for it with his thirty-plus years as a politician. He was very hard working and was very focused on reasoning with people. He was often quoted saying, "Come now, let us reason together," as he talked with people regarding anything and everything.

He quickly went to work after taking an oath and promised the American people that he was going to continue Kennedy's progressive ideas. He passed many new laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as continued the tax cuts that President Kennedy was pushing before he passed away.

He later passed an education bill, an anti-poverty plan, and a food-stamp program. Due to his great success with these bills, he was easily reelected with 61 percent of the vote and with the largest popular margin in American history with more than 15 million votes.

Unfortunately, despite the new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination programs, there was a lot of rioting in black ghettos. He remained firm against segregation, but trouble still brewed on the racial front.

What Was the Great Society?

He highly valued education, and wanted to pass a bill that made sure everyone had the right to a good education, which he called the "Great Society" program, because he felt that America should " a great society, a place where the meaning of man's life matches the marvels of man's labor." His efforts not only helped education, but also included urban renewal and development of depressed regions, conservation, prevention of the spread of diseases, help for those facing poverty, thwarting crime, and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. He also helped many older adults through the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act.

While in office, the space program flourished. In December 1968, three astronauts orbited the moon, and Johnson was quoted saying, "You've taken ... all of us, all over the world, into a new era. . . . "

Unfortunately, the Vietnam War took place while he was in office. Many blamed him for this war, despite his efforts to end Communist aggression by seeking a settlement. By March 1968, the controversy over the war heightened; meanwhile, Johnson sought negotiations and limited the bombing of Vietnam. He withdrew his nomination for re-election on March 31, 1968, in hopes that he could continue to strive for peace without the impedance of politics.

What He Did After He Left Office

In 1969, he left the office and retired to his ranch in Texas, which lies near the Pedernales River. There he established his presidential library, which opened in 1971 in Austin on the University of Texas's campus. He also worked on his memoirs.

When he left office, a half-million U.S. troops were still fighting in Vietnam, and people continued to protest in Washington. Many Americans even blamed him for the war, not ending. It was not until the day before he died, where he heard that Viet Nam gained peace. He died on January 22, 1973, at 64 of a heart attack. The Vietnam War officially ended shortly after. His birthday became a Texan holiday after he died. Jimmy Carter also awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.

In the Navy

 Lyndon Baines Johnson in navy uniform.
Lyndon Baines Johnson in navy uniform. | Source

Fun Facts

  • In 1965, he signed Medicare law, which provided millions of elderly person healthcare.
  • The Vietnam War broke out while he was in office, and although he sought peace with them throughout his term in office, he died before the end of the war.
  • The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy occurred near the end of his presidency.
  • He took the Oath of Office only two hours after the assassination of JFK.
  • Three men orbited the moon while he was in office.
  • He earned the Silver Star while he was a lieutenant in the Navy. The Silver Star is the military's third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat.

Excerpt from the History Channel

Basic Facts

August 27, 1908 - Texas
President Number
Military Service
U.S. Naval Reserve - Commander
Wars Served
World War II
Age at Beginning of Presidency
55 years old
Term of Office
November 22, 1963 - January 20, 1969
How Long President
6 years
None (1963–65) Hubert Humphrey (1965–69)
Age and Year of Death
January 22, 1973 (aged 64)
Cause of Death
heart attack

Awarding the Distinguished Service Cross

President Lyndon B. Johnson awards the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant Marty A. Hammer, in Vietnam.
President Lyndon B. Johnson awards the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant Marty A. Hammer, in Vietnam. | Source

List of United States Presidents

1. George Washington
16. Abraham Lincoln
31. Herbert Hoover
2. John Adams
17. Andrew Johnson
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
3. Thomas Jefferson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
33. Harry S. Truman
4. James Madison
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
5. James Monroe
20. James Garfield
35. John F. Kennedy
6. John Quincy Adams
21. Chester A. Arthur
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
7. Andrew Jackson
22. Grover Cleveland
37. Richard M. Nixon
8. Martin Van Buren
23. Benjamin Harrison
38. Gerald R. Ford
9. William Henry Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
39. James Carter
10. John Tyler
25. William McKinley
40. Ronald Reagan
11. James K. Polk
26. Theodore Roosevelt
41. George H. W. Bush
12. Zachary Taylor
27. William Howard Taft
42. William J. Clinton
13. Millard Fillmore
28. Woodrow Wilson
43. George W. Bush
14. Franklin Pierce
29. Warren G. Harding
44. Barack Obama
15. James Buchanan
30. Calvin Coolidge
45. Donald Trump


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). Lyndon B. Johnson. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
  • Staff. "Lyndon B. Johnson." 2009. Accessed March 07, 2018.
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.

© 2017 Angela Michelle Schultz


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      22 months ago from United States

      I know there are many who agree with you, Jess Aragon.

    • profile image

      Jesse aragon 

      22 months ago

      He wasted his entire term in office n lost the war by not letting the military fight the war read deriliction of duty

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      I am enjoying these articles on the different presidents very much. LBJ was a wonderful man and an effective president. :)

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      2 years ago from U.S.A.

      I appreciate such a good non-biased telling of his story. You are superb at your craft. I didn't know he was a teacher as well. That would explain, as you correctly pointed out, his humanistic domestic ideas.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      2 years ago from United States

      Thank you very much Tim for sharing your own knowledge on him.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      2 years ago from U.S.A.

      Excellent work. An interesting fact about LBJ - he had a reputation of "leaning" into people when talking to them to get his point across. It was called: the Johnson technique.

      Also interesting about LBJ: a southerner went after and crushed the KKK and Nazis in the South.

      You are right. Vietnam really impacted his presidency. Great overview. Good information.

    • Sharlee01 profile image


      2 years ago

      Enjoyed the article... Nicely done.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)