Lyndon B. Johnson Essay, Research Paper
Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism
Bruce J. Schulman
This brief biography of Lyndon Johnson outlined his life beginning in rural Texas and followed the ups and downs of his political career. It discusses his liberal, “active government” mentality and its implications on both domestic and foreign issues. Johnson was obviously a man who knew how to get things done but his “under the table” methods are brought into question in this book, although, in my opinion, Schulman presents a fairly positive portrayal of LBJ.
This book follows Johnsons political career, from a eager hard-working congressional secretary to the landslide victor of the 1964 presidential election. It discusses his “liberal” political views, It seems as though Johnson thought he could help the American people single-handedly and he seemed determined to do it. Johnson is He is praised for his vast legislative record and his stand on poverty and eventually, civil rights. He is criticized for his methods and
Before I read this book, I knew almost nothing about LBJ. I had no opinion of him, good or bad. I can’t even really remember hearing much about him. So I was given the rare opportunity to formulate an opinion without any personal bias, and despite popular opinion, I really like Lyndon Johnson. Despite his shady political methods (which is actually nothing unusual in politics), he was a man who knew how to get things done. I think people criticize Johnson too quickly. Although the distrust Johnson received from Americans may have been well deserved (when he with-held the truth about the escalating situation in Vietnam), how can one man be held responsible for Vietnam. Johnson didn’t start the war, he simply inherited it from Kennedy. Sure, he could have withdrew from Vietnam, but when he started sending troops, he did so at the discretion of his advisors and with the support of the American people. But when Vietnam turned into the horrible “unnecessary” disaster it is remembered as, everyone backed off and Johnson was left to blame. I think the book did an excellent job showing the awesome pressure a president (who people often forget, is just another human being), is put under during a war. If given the responsibility Johnson had, I doubt there is anyone could have solved the Vietnam crisis.
I think this brief biography of Lyndon Johnson does an excellent job of portraying both the positive and negative aspects of his political career. Nobody questions Johnsons brilliance as a politician. His legislative record and landslide 1964 presidential election win leave no question as to Johnsons political ability. Yet despite LBJ’s contributions, he is remembered as one of the worst presidents ever. Unjustly, it seems to me…
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