New Deal Great Society Essay

Book Description:

The long era of liberal reform that began with the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century and continued with the New Deal, culminated in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Inspired by the example of his mentor, Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson sought to extend the agenda of the New Deal beyond the realm of economic security to civil rights, housing, education, and health care. In the end, however, his bold ambitions for a Great Society, initiated against the backdrop of an increasingly costly and divisive war, fueled a conservative backlash and undermined faith in liberalism itself. In this volume of original essays, a distinguished group of scholars and activists reassess the mixed legacy of this third major reform period of the last century. They examine not only the policies and programs that were part of LBJ's Great Society, but also the underlying ideological and political shifts that changed the nature of liberalism. Some of the essays focus on Lyndon Johnson himself and the institution of the modern presidency, others on specific reform measures, and still others on the impact of these initiatives in the decades that followed. Perspectives, methodologies, and conclusions differ, yet all of the contributors agree that the Great Society represented an important chapter in the story of the American republic and its ongoing struggle to reconcile the power of the state with the rights of individuals—a struggle that has continued into the twentyfirst century. In addition to the editors, contributors include Henry J. Abraham, Brian Balogh, Rosalyn Baxandall, Edward Berkowitz, Eileen Boris, Richard A. Cloward, Hugh Davis Graham, Hugh Heclo, Frederick Hess, William E. Leuchtenburg, Nelson Lichtenstein, Patrick McGuinn, Wilson Carey McWilliams, R. Shep Melnick, Frances Fox Piven, and David M. Shribman.

eISBN: 978-1-61376-132-8

Subjects: Political Science, History

Lbj's Great Society Essay

When Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded the presidency after John F. Kennedy's assassination he spoke of his vision of a Great Society in America. This Great Society included "an end to poverty and racial injustice," and also was intended to turn America into a place where kids can enhance their mind, broaden their talents, and people could restore their connection with the environment. In order to reach his goal, LBJ enacted numerous proposals involving taxes, civil rights, poverty, and much more. For the most part Johnson did an excellent job on delivering his promises, but international affairs threatened the Great Society and although LBJ won the presidency in a landslide victory in 1964, by 1966 he and the Supreme Court began to face serious criticism.
The one of the first passed in 1964 was the Tax Reduction Act which cut by about $10 billion the taxes mainly paid by conglomerates and well-to-do. Another major characteristic of the Great Society was civil rights. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act barred discrimination in public places, any federally aided program, and most employment. It also enlarged federal authorities to defend voting rights and to hurry school desegregation.
As soon as LBJ won over America in the 1964 election he immediately began proposing reforms to create a Great Society. One of his major accomplishments he during this time was a War on Poverty. Johnson believed that the cure to poverty was education and therefore passed numerous acts providing federal aid for education. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was the first general federal-aid-to-education law in American history and gave over $1 billion to public and parochial schools for books, library supplies, and special-education courses. The Higher Education Act gave $650 million for scholarships and low-interest loans to poor college students and for funds for college libraries and research facilities. Also, through the Economic Opportunity Act Johnson started antipoverty programs such as the Job Corps, VISTA, Project Head Start, and the Community Action Program. However, these programs were designed by Johnson to be a ?hand up, not a hand out.?
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