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The Great Society

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Unit Four
The Great Society

Johnson took the presidency at the death of the beloved Kennedy. As history often does, it repeated itself and showed the public was not ready or able to trust a president who was not voted into office. Lyndon B. Johnson took office and sworn to continue the liberal agenda of Kennedy and called for a “Great Society” to end poverty and racial injustice (pg. 146). The Great society was a set of domestic programs proposed or enacted in the United States on the initiative of Johnson. The two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and of the racial injustice. New Major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Housing and Urban Development, Elementary and Secondary Education Act were a few programs enacted with Johnsons Great Society.
The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin Roosevelt, but differed sharply in types of programs. “Johnson’s political genius also ensured passage of the new civil rights laws, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government the power to sue to desegregate public accommodations and schools” (pg. 148). The law prohibited job discrimination based on race and encouraged the passing of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to sue to compliance. The Civil Rights act was the beginning of social change throughout the country. Woman’s rights came into the forefront after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Although Women’s rights and Women’s rights advocated had been present since the 1890s, The Nationals Women’s party protested that the Civil Rights Act protested discrimination again all things, but not sex. An amendment was introduced adding the missing component.
The election of 1964 gave Johnson the confidence to continue on his journey of the Great Society. Although Republican Conservators were upset with the passing of the Civil Rights act, Johnson took the presidency election and began his second term in 1964 with over 90 percent of the black vote. In 1965, Johnson focused on his social reform program. He pushed for health care for the elderly, leading to the Medicare program. Education reform was at the forefront of his campaign as well. The peak of the Great Society was in 1965 with a, “$1 billion Appalachia Assistance program, most of which went for road building in the economically depressed region” (pg. 153). The Department of Housing and Urban Development became a cabinet level office and the Demonstration Cities and metropolitan Development Act, which appropriated $1 billion to attack urban blight (pg., 153). Johnson also enacted the Immigration Act of 1965 which limited the admission to people but favored relative of US citizens and those with special skills rather than particular nationalities and encouraged a considerable increase in immigration from Asia and Latin Americans.
Many conservatives worried about the growth of governmental power and feared the socialist overtake. Johnson defended his program and believed that he could fight poverty and communism at the same time. He tried to fight the War on Poverty without cutting the funds from his Great Society program. Military cost rose to $2 million a month by 1966 and that it was impossible to spend large sums on money of “guns and butter” (pg. 175). Johnson continued the war on poverty throughout the fight in Vietnam, however disliked the war was. References
Horowitz, D. C., & Carroll, P. (2002). On the Edge: United States Since 1945 (3rd ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company .

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