The Great Society

The Great Society
Lyndon Johnson’s Vision for
A Better America
Johnson’s Idea of a “Great Society”
• 1964 wins election
• Plans a program of
economic and
social reforms
“Great Society."
White Board: What party was LBJ and
how did he become President?
Elements of the Great Society
•unfinished goals of New Deal
– universal health care & civil
•American culture through
Federal aid to the arts,
sciences, and humanities.
•Show the world “American
Way” was superior to the
ideas of “world socialismUSSR”
Civil Rights was key part of the Great
 64 Civil Rights Act
 65 Voting Rights Act
 Both pushed by the
grassroots of the civil rights
Expanding Voting Rights
1965, Johnson signed
the Voting Rights Act,
• He pushed it through
• The act outlawed
literacy tests as a
way of limiting the
right to vote. It also
provided Federal
resources to
investigate actions to
prevent people from
 How does Civil Rights fit in the Great Society Agenda?
War on Poverty
 1964 State of the Union Johnson
"today, here and now, declares
unconditional war on poverty in
America, and I urge this Congress and
all Americans to join with me in that
Program Focused
 "chronically distressed areas" of
the country,
 a youth employment ("job corps")
 expansion of the food stamp and
unemployment relief systems
 special aid to schools, libraries,
hospitals, and nursing homes.
Problems with the War on Poverty
 War on poverty was greatly underfunded
 Poverty continued and today gap between rich and poor is
greater than before
 1960’s America was spending on another major event
 White Board question “What was draining American money
and taking away from the war on poverty?”
1965: Title XVIII and XIX of the Social
Security Act
 Medicare (Title XVIII)
established to provide health
insurance coverage to persons
over age 65
 Medicaid (Title XIX) established
to provide health insurance
coverage to low income women
and children (also, aged, blind
and disabled)
 Medicare is a government service that helps provide health
care for senior citizens and disabled U.S. citizens.
 Medicare part A: helps with hospital costs
 Medicare part B: requires a monthly fee and helps pay for
medical costs
 Medicare part D: pays for prescription drugs
White Board
 What is one benefit and one problems in this system
1966: Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and
Motor Vehicle Safety Act
Authorized the federal
government to set and
regulate standards for
motor vehicles and
 Vehicles were built with
new safety features,
including head rests,
steering wheels, shatterresistant windshields, and
safety belts
By 1970, motor-vehiclerelated death rates were
1968: School Lunch and Child Nutrition
Act Expanded
In 1968, Congress expanded the School Lunch and Child
Nutrition Act.
A program was created to provide food for school-age
children during the summer.
Additionally, a year-round program was initiated to provide
food to low-income children, as well as children in day-care
centers and Head Start programs.
Head Start-free low income pre-school
 Can all these programs make a “Great Society” ?
 Would you call the “Great Society a success or failure
Money for Culture
Johnson also supported bills to
establish the National
Endowment for Humanities and
the National Endowment for the
Both the NEA and the NEH,
created in 1965,
 Which party supports increased funding for these programs
and who is in favor of reducing funding? Why do you think
that is?
Impact of the Great Society
•Most of the Great Society programs remain intact in
some way.
• Funding for each program, however, has varied
according to holds power in the Federal government and
in each of the state governments.
•the programs have always been part of the ongoing
debates over “American values.”
•Programs have run costly and pushed our debt.
•Social Security and Medicare take largest part of the
us Budget.
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