LBJ's "Great Society"
The new president, Lyndon Johnson, was big. Taller than six feet three inches, he had big bones, big ears, a big nose, big hands, and big feet. His voice was big, his ego was big, and when it came to ambitionit was bigger than big. His ambition was colossal. He wanted to be a great president, "the greatest of them all, the whole bunch of them," he said. Hubert Humphrey was a Johnson supporter in the U.S. Senate who would later become Johnson's vice president. This is what he had to say about Lyndon Johnson: "He was an all-American president. He was really the history of this country with all of the turmoil, the bombast, the passions. It was all there, all in one man, and if you liked politics, it was like being at the feet of a giant."
Johnson's dream was to wipe out poverty in America. He wanted to see blacks, whites, Hispanicsall peopletreated as equal citizens. He wanted old people to be cared for. He wanted every child in the country to get a good education. He wanted to see an America where all men and women are given equal opportunity. Early in his term his said, "I want to be the president who educated young children, who helped feed the hungry, who helped the poor find their own way, and who protected the right of every citizen to vote."
Lyndon Baines Johnson came from Texas, from the scruffy Hill Country near Austin. It was a region so isolated when he was a boy that no one had electricity at home, and almost no one had running water indoors or an indoor toilet. Lyndon was brighteveryone could see thatbut he was a rebellious student. Sometimes he did well; often he didn't. And from the time he was a little boy, it was politics that fascinated him. His father, Sam Ealy Johnson , served in the Texas legislature. Lyndon once said, "I want to wind up just like my daddy, gettin' pensions for old people."