The Good, The Bad, And The Oh My

1106 words - 5 pages

In the course of American history there have been presidents that have surpassed the nation’s expectations, and others who have simply faded away into history. Several presidents have felt the pressure to live up to certain standards, and former President Lyndon B. Johnson was no exception. LBJ’s path to success was filled with obstacles and criticism that helped shape his presidential years. The book, Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism by Bruce J. Schulman, is a clear representation of not only how LBJ developed as a politician, but as well as how a nation grew under his presidency. But more specifically, the documents in the book provide an inside into the different perspectives ...view middle of the document...

Several people praised and criticized the actions that Johnson was taking, but to him every action was a necessary one.
In a speech that Johnson gave at the University of Michigan, he expressed that the “challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use the wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of American civilization” (p. 192). Johnson had high hopes for the Great Society; he envisioned it as a way to “end poverty and racial injustices” (p. 193). As the years went by, the Great Society proved itself to be a support system for thousands of Americans in desperate need. But was the Great Society a success? According to Joseph Califano, the success of it was not determined by the opinions of politicians or affluent people, but of the thousands of people who received benefits from the programs. For example, “11 million students had received loans for their college education with the Higher Education Act” (p. 201). Was that a failure or success? To the countless number of students who received the much needed aid the Act proved to be a success. Other acts such as the “Voting rights act gave 4 million African Americans the opportunity to register to vote” (Califano, p. 201). To them, the act not only represented a success against discrimination, but it represented new found hope and acceptance. Aside from fighting against discrimination and helping America’s educational system, the Great Society also proved to be a remarkable force against the long lasting problem of poverty. According to the 1959 to 2000 Census by the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty level from 1960 to 1969 drooped 13 percent (p. 211). With all the help that the American people were receiving it would be only fair to say that the Great Society indeed was success and a major force to be reckoned with. But if the effects of the Great Society were to be expanded from the 1960s decade into decades forward, it can be seen that, what was once thought to be a success quickly turned into a failure.
It can be argued that the Great Society will always be one of those moments in history that changed the nation. Are those false assumptions? No. But when analyzing...

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