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Mr. President

Lyndon B. Johnson
Thirty-Sixth President, 1963–1969

“War is always the same. It is young men dying in the fullness of their promise. It is trying to kill a man that you do not even know well enough to hate. Therefore, to know war is to know that there is still madness in this world.”

War and Rage:
Vice President Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office after John Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson described the America he hoped to build as "The Great Society," and his programs fought poverty, ensured civil rights for all Americans, and provided health insurance for senior citizens and the poor. Yet Johnson will also be remembered for his role in escalating the Vietnam War. After the North Vietnamese reportedly attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, Johnson launched retaliatory strikes. He sent U.S. troops into action in 1965. The Vietnam War greatly divided the American people, as war protests spread across the nation. It was also a time of great racial tensions and race riots. After civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968, riots broke out in more than 100 U.S. cities. Johnson did not seek a second term.

Portrait by Peter Hurd , 1967 . NPG.68.14 , Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery .

Fast Facts
Party: Democrat
Date of Birth: Thursday, August 27, 1908
Date of Death: Monday, January 22, 1973
Vice President: Hubert H. Humphrey
First Lady: Claudia Taylor Johnson

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