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History   >   US History – The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69


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US History – The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69

In this course, Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester) explores the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69). The first module provides an introduction to Johnson himself, his personality and policies in comparison with the presidents that preceded and followed him – Kennedy and Nixon. In the second module, we think about four important contexts for Johnson’s presidency – three domestic, one international – before turning in the third module to consider the set of domestic reforms known as Johnson’s Great Society. In the fourth module, we consider Johnson’s record on civil rights, before turning in the fifth module to think about the importance of the Vietnam War in assessments of Johnson’s presidency. Finally, in the sixth module, we provide an overview of Johnson’s presidency, thinking about the overall arc of his administration – from early successes to later challenges – his major achievements, his failures, and his longer-term legacy.


In this module, we provide an introduction to Lyndon Johnson, a man described by journalist Russell Baker as “a human puzzle so complicated nobody [could] ever understand it." In particular, we think about: (i) the contradictions in his personality and his presidency, e.g. his segregationist sympathies vs. his work on civil rights, his advocacy for peace in the 1964 presidential campaign vs. his massive escalation of the war in Vietnam, etc.; (ii) his ‘presidential’ context between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon; (iii) the social and cultural context of 1960s America; and (iv) his reputation as a “king of the river, stranger to the open sea” (Philip Geyelin, 1966), i.e. strong on domestic policy, weak on foreign policy.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. (2020, January 14). US History – The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69 - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. "US History – The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69 – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Jan 2020,


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Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock

Manchester University