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Lyndon Baines Johnson
Aug. 27, 1908 - Jan. 22, 1973
Religion: Disciple of Christ
Marriage: Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor
Military service: He served in the Navy during World War II, and his plane survived an attack by Japanese aircraft over New Guinea.
Term: Nov. 22, 1963 - Jan. 20, 1969
Vice president: Vacant 1963-1965; Hubert Horatio Humphrey, 1965-1969
Highlights of presidency: Johnson's inaugural address outlined what he called "The Great Society" programs encompassing the war on poverty, civil rights legislation, Medicare and Medicaid, environmental protection and consumerism. He was the first president to name an African-American, Robert Weaver, to his Cabinet, as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was also the first president to nominate an African-American, Thurgood Marshall, to the Supreme Court. In August 1964, Johnson retaliated with airstrikes against North Vietnam for torpedo attacks against U.S. naval ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. An undeclared war in Vietnam ensued. By January 1968, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive against Saigon in the south. Johnson refused to seek re-election, and his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, lost to Richard Nixon.
Did you know? One of Johnson's relatives on his father's side died at the Alamo with Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. While in college, Johnson dated the daughter of a prominent leader of the Ku Klux Klan. They became engaged, but his fiance's father disapproved of Lyndon because Johnson's father had publicly criticized the Klan. He taught school in Texas before becoming a politician. Johnson served as a member of the U.S. House, 1937-1949; U.S. senator, 1949-1961; and vice president, 1961-1963. He was the eighth president to accede to the presidency because of the death of his predecessor. Johnson is the only president to have taken the oath of office from a woman, Federal District Judge Sarah Hughes. Johnson was the first Southern president since Andrew Johnson.