It’s been a hundred years since Lyndon Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas. His presidency was shadowed by the Vietnam War. But his record of legislative accomplishment is comparable to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In their twenty years in power since 1980, the Republicans have done their best to destroy the legacy of the Great Society (and, under Bush, they have also done their best to emulate the disaster of Vietnam). Even the Voting Rights Act, though it has not been repealed, has in recent years been gutted by a Justice Department more interested in Southern-style vote-suppression and race-baiting than in maintaining the franchise for those who were historically denied it.
Firedoglake lists some of the major domestic legislation of the Johnson years:
- 1964: Civil Rights Act
- 1964: Urban Mass Transportation Act
- 1964: Wilderness Act
- 1964: Nurse Training Act
- 1964: Food Stamp Act
- 1964: Economic Opportunity Act
- 1965: Higher Education Act
- 1965: Social Security Act
- 1965: Voting Rights Act
- 1965: Immigration and Nationality Services Act
- 1967: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- 1967: Public Broadcasting Act
- 1968: Bilingual Education Act
- 1968: Fair Housing
Looking at this, and remembering how strongly opposed I was to Johnson in ’68, I realize that those of us who were coming of age then could not imagine how good we had it.
For a Johnsonian take on Johnson’s legacy, see the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Celebration.