The Great Society Recorded Lecture

The Great Society Recorded Lecture


– [Professor Gore] Hello
students, this is Professor Gore and this is the recorded lecture on LBJ and the Great Society. And so in the previous recorded lecture we ended talking about
the assassination of JFK and then LBJ getting sworn
into office on Air Force One right in front of Jackie Kennedy. And so what I also talked about in the Civil Rights
movement recorded lecture for the 1960’s that the
march through Birmingham caught such national attention it provoked JFK to encourage
this March on Washington to help propose to Congress some federal civil rights legislation. And so JFK is killed in November of 1963. And so LBJ comes into office and in 1964 he pushes for what came to be known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and what this is, this is, I like to call it the big tuna of civil rights legislation. There’s three really big ones that get passed in ’64 and 1965. You have the Civil Rights Act of ’64, you also have the 24th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The 24th Amendment makes it
where it outlaws poll taxes, so actually as the day
of making this lecture, I just voted earlier this morning, I did early voting, and it
didn’t cost me anything, and so the 24th Amendment makes it where it is free to vote. There is no poll taxes that were designed to discriminate against poor
African Americans from voting way back in the Jim Crow south. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is actually a little more complex, but in essence what it does is it outlaws segregation based on race, also discrimination and
public accommodations and so forth. So you can’t have whites
only restaurants, okay? You can’t have just the balcony only for African Americans and
so forth at a movie theater. And those types of things. So what legally ends the Jim Crow south is these three pieces of legislation. The 24th Amendment, it outlaws poll taxes, the Civil Rights Act of
1964 which eliminates discrimination based on your race, and facilities and so forth, and then the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gets rid of literacy tests that were designed to
prevent African Americans from voting as well. And so the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first one of the three, then the 24th Amendment, then the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And so, anyway, you can tell
by the Civil Rights movement, here are the areas, the
states that had discrimination and so forth. By this point only Alabama,
Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina had
the grandfather clause. Property tests were in five states, literacy states were in most of the south, but if you look at
everywhere except Georgia, you had to pay in order to vote, and that’s the poll tax, so the 24th Amendment eliminates that. So anyway, what you end up having is to try to challenge this in 1964, what you end up having is what’s called the Freedom Summer. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as well as other civil rights groups, got caused to go up there summer to try to register as
many African Americans to vote in the south
as they possibly could, because a lot of them
didn’t take the effort to fill out voter registration stuff, or were scared to, and
so it’s a lot easier if you have somebody who comes and brings the voter registration stuff to your home, you fill it out, you give it back to them, and then they go turn it
in to the local county. And so what ends up
happening is a nasty event in the summer of 1964 where KKK members actually try to prevent
this Freedom Summer project from happening, and so Mickey Schwerner was
a Jewish American Student who was from the north, kind of one of the guys
that organized this in this part of Mississippi, along with Andrew
Goodman and James Chaney, all worked for this
Freedom Summer project, and what they, what had happened was they had gone and tried to register votes, well there was a church, African American church,
that had been burned, and the Ku Klux Klan had done this so that way it would lead them to leave where they were staying to go down and investigate this church burning, and so what the Klan
members had decided to do was they were going to
stop them on the way back from checking out the church. So these three young men were pulled over by local law enforcement, and what ends up happening
is they get brought in to the jail, but the
reason why they were held is to get word out that these boys were gonna be heading back to the place they were staying, and so that way they could intercept them. So they get released, and
we’re not exactly sure of all of the details after that, but anyway, why the boys
end up pulling over, but they do end up getting stopped, I don’t know if the car
ran in front of them and stopped them or what, but they end up getting brutally murdered and buried in this embankment thing, in fact when their bodies are
uncovered later by the FBI, mostly because of an informant, most likely because they
wouldn’t have been able to find the bodies otherwise, when they exhumed the bodies, they discovered that one of the young men actually died of asphyxiation, so he died from suffocation. Wasn’t fully dead when they had shot and thought they had killed him, and so it’s a brutal murder, but what ends up happening,
which makes it significant, wherein the murder of Emmett Till, no federal action is taken, in the Freedom Summer killing in 1964, the FBI gets involved by order of LBJ, in fact LBJ was hoping
that they were being held and being scared in some
kind of barn or something in the south, but then it comes out that they were brutally murdered, and so this trial, particularly, would be tried in a federal court, rather than a local court, and so forth, and so in fact Edgar Ray Killen later gets actually tried
and convicted in the 2000s. Anyway, it’s a fascinating story, there’s actually a UT history professor who was doing some
research, he and his son, over the summer was able to
actually get this guy to confess and they were interviewing
him and pretending they were doing something else, and he was bragging about the killing, and they were able to get this information to the New York Times, New York Times broke the story, and then Edgar Ray Killen
was brought to justice, and he was tried and
sentenced to life imprisonment in the early 2000s for the murder of these three young men. And so that happens,
and then the next year, what you end up having is the Selma March. But what ends up happening is, Dr. King organizes the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference and other African American
civil rights groups to march from Selma to Montgomery, to protest this restriction
of voter registration, okay, so the south, different southerners were trying to do
different things to prevent African Americans from registering to vote and so forth. What ends up happening is
the Alabama State Troopers, when they’re trying to cross this bridge, end up attacking them with clubs, and these marchers are brutally beaten. And what ends up happening is, the event is nationally
televised and so forth, and it’s really nasty,
also a Jewish person who had come down to help, I’m sorry, actually not a Jewish person, it was actually a priest up in the north, a Christian priest, he
actually gets brutally murdered in an alleyway for being down there to help these African Americans try to register to vote, and so because of this,
Congress ends up passing, this is a political cartoon talking about the Alabama State Troopers, and it says “Special Storm Trooper,” to talk about the Nazis. It leads to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So this slide right here, I recommend that you write this one down. Also the Civil Rights Act of ’64 prevents discrimination based on race, that was the other part of that, and so all three of these, kind of the three big
civil rights legislation that kind of helps end
the Jim Crow south legally in American history. So you need to know all three of these. Chances are you’ll have
at least one of them on a quiz and certainly on a test. Anyway, so we talked about
the Civil Rights Act of ’64, and you can see it banned the use of different voter registration, prohibited discrimination
of public accommodation such as restaurants, hotels,
and theaters based on race, and also they would
withhold any federal funds of programs that practiced discrimination. And then also the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission was created to prevent
discrimination in hiring in the workplace. So you can see, look at the percentage of African Americans that
were registered to vote. Mississippi had the fewest,
Alabama was the second fewest, and then in the deep south
you end up having Florida and Texas and Tennessee
had the most people that were registered to vote that were African American at that time. And so the election of 1964, before the Voting Rights
Act of ’65 went into effect, Johnson runs against Barry Goldwater. Barry Goldwater was a
Republican congressman. Barry Goldwater was seen
as a little more radical. He was a stalwart for conservatism, but he favored using the
nuclear weapons and so forth in Vietnam against the
communists and so forth. And so what ends up happening is LBJ wins one of the greatest
political landslides in American history. You can see right here, he sweeps in and captures
61.1% of the popular vote, far different than LBJ, I’m sorry, before JFK did in 1960 against Nixon, and Barry Goldwater only
just wins the deep south and Arizona and so forth. So his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, who’s later gonna run
for president in 1968 as a democratic candidate, and really after this,
LBJ is going to pass more pieces of federal legislation than any other president since FDR. In fact, if you count all the programs, it may have been slightly more than the New Deal Programs were, and so forth. So let’s look at the Great Society. We’re not gonna go into a ton of detail about each and every single
one of these programs, because you have your
text books and so forth, and the lecture notes
cover some of this as well. So the Great Society is broken up into these seven categories, and so the federal
government for the first time kind of got involved in education under Eisenhower, but it expands that quite
a bit with Upward Bound, like my niece plays
Upward Bound basketball, and Upward Bound is kind of
like these after school programs to help low income areas. I remember when I was in college, you could get for your work study, you could get paid through Upward Bound to go tutor low income students
in the surrounding county while in college. Project Head Start is designed to help young kind of poor children and so forth with job training and so forth, and these different
things are interesting, and then the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act also provided help to children
in low income areas as well. And so you look at health,
Medicare and Medicaid, here’s how you remember the
difference between the two. Medicare ends with an e,
Medicaid ends with a d, so Medicare is health
insurance for the elderly. Medicaid is health insurance
for the poor and disabled. Like both my parents
are in their late 60s, they’re both on Medicare. They spent their entire career working. Part of their paycheck,
and part of my paycheck, is taken out to pay for Medicare, okay, and so it is health
insurance for the elderly because there’s very few elderly people who have access to health insurance. They have access to health care, just not access to health insurance, and then Medicaid is for
the poor and disabled. And so a lot of that is
taken out of state taxes. Now, the war on poverty, it consists of several different things, and LBJ used to call the Great Society the woman he loved, and he used to call the Vietnam War “the bitch I hated” and so forth, so excuse my language, but
that’s actually a quote from him. And so the war on poverty and so forth was really his passion, because LBJ right out of college, gone to a teacher’s college, was a teacher on the south Texas border
on the Mexico border and saw some of the poorer students, and wanted to alleviate poverty, so for instance he focused on the Appalachian Redevelopment Act to improve some of the poorest regions of the Appalachian mountains, in fact West Virginia particularly. Project VISTA, department of
Housing and Urban Development, still around today, it’s
designed to try to provide affordable housing, so
we have what’s called section 8 housing, so this is housing that is subsidized by federal
government tax dollars to make either it free housing or very, very cheap housing
for the lowest income earners. The Equal Opportunity Act, similar thing. Office of Economic Opportunities is to try to guarantee that low income people have access to jobs and so forth. Now civil rights legislation, we’ve covered some of that. There was also the
Civil Rights Act of ’68, and then also an executive
order on affirmative action. Now what affirmative action is, is that employers or
universities and so forth are supposed to take steps
to try to hire or admit minority candidates, okay? We’ll cover affirmative
action more in detail when we get to the
1970s when we get to the University of California
versus Bakke case, and then of course we talked about the Civil Rights Act and
the Voting Rights Act of ’65 and the 24th Amendment. Now LBJ is considered an
environmental president along with, ironically because
of what happens in Vietnam, because of the Water Quality
Act and the Air Quality Act, so further legislation try to, will punish companies
that pollute the water or pollute the air and so forth. Actually, Nixon is a bigger
environmental president than LBJ is. One of the things, too, that LBJ did was he ended that immigration quota that had been enacted in 1920s, so the Immigration and
Naturalization Act in 1965 got rid of that quota system, and so this is where, from ’65 on, to really present day, you
see an increased amount of immigration, by the 1990s, immigration is almost
at the level that it was around the turn of the
century, around 1900. Not quite, but what you see is, instead of immigrants
pouring into the country from southern and eastern
Europe and central Europe and northern Europe and western Europe, you see immigrants pouring
in from Latin America, and parts of Asia and
even parts of Africa. So for instance, there
has been a large amount of Vietnamese immigrants, probably because of the Vietnam war, but also immigrants from Thailand, Korea, China, also we’ve
had a lot of immigrants coming from India and
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and other parts of the world, but you’ll see that
that immigration center, instead of being from Europe primarily, is coming from Latin America and Asia and parts of Africa and so forth, and it’s the Immigration
and Naturalization Act that kind of leads to that happening. Now something I’ve
actually taken advantage of personally is the National
Endowment for Humanities. There’s also the National
Endowment for the Arts, provides federal funding for preservation of Humanities and Arts. Also provides, what I took
advantage of is teacher training. I applied through the
Gilder Leherman Institute, which is funded by federal dollars from the National Endowment of Humanities to attend a teacher training at the University of Colorado at Boulder on the Great Plains history, and it was a week long seminar, I got travel reimbursement up to $400, anything over that I was responsible for. I got some free books, I
had to study before I went, and got some great teacher training, and all of that was funded by the National Endowment
for the Humanities, and so there’s other teacher
trainings and so forth that fall under that umbrella that you can take advantage of from that federal government
initiative and so forth. This war on poverty, you can see what each of these things do, so Medicare is health
insurance for the elderly, Medicaid is health insurance
for the poor and disabled, VISTA stands for Volunteers
in Service to America, and try to get youth
volunteers to work with low income areas. Project Head Start,
this is providing extra academic assistance, so for instance, I taught at one school for six years in the Dallas Forth Worth metroplex, and we had after school programs that were funded by this
federal government grant, and I’m not sure if it was
through Project Head Start, but it was something similar, and it was the same premise, and it provided extra academic assistance to kids who signed up, and it paid people in
the community or teachers to stay after school to do this. I didn’t do it because I had to pick my children up from daycare, but anyway, some teachers
did, and they got extra money, I think it was like 20
bucks an hour or something, for doing that. Also, like Kennedy proposed his tax cut, Johnson actually passed it, so the problem is with a tax cut, it’s gonna hurt the 1970s economy. You can’t cut taxes, pay
for the Great Society, which is very expensive,
and pay for the Vietnam War, which is very, very
expensive, at the same time. So remember, Medicare/Medicaid
is a big one, immigration reform, Aid to Education, fighting
poverty and so forth. Now, because of the Great Society, it does reduce poverty rates in half, but by the 1990s eventually you end up having poverty rates basically what it was before the Great Society was implemented. So you can see all these
different descriptions of these Great Society programs, if you wanna take notes on them, Higher Education Act was
one I didn’t have on there, but it provides
scholarships at low interest for needy students and so forth. And you can see Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Act that provides funding for
mass transit facilities that benefit poor who can take low cost public transportation. Here’s some more, of course environment. Also the Wilderness
Preservation Act and Water– so I couldn’t put all of that on that map that I was going over,
but you get the idea. And then consumer advocacy and so forth. So there’s a lot of programs. So the effects of it
is it does temporarily cut poverty rates in half, and it lasts for a number of decades, but some critics are gonna say that it’s too much tax
dollars going to those who aren’t necessarily doing anything, and so the New Deal, you primarily had to work for your money, with the Great Society it goes from working for the government
aid to cash grants, and so LBJ is praised today
by the left politically and criticized by the right. So it depends on which
side of the political aisle you fall on what your view
of the Great Society is, but it is a tremendous,
huge piece of numerous legislations that was very effective, and LBJ was great at getting
bills passed and so forth. And really what is gonna hurt
the Great Society long term is the Vietnam War. And so one thing I did want to mention before I end this lecture
with the Great Society, is Johnson was an interesting politician, and he was able to pressure people to get what he wanted
accomplished and passed. And because he had been
a long term congressman, he knew all the congressmen
pretty much in there, and congresswomen, and was
able to figure out ways to get them to vote on stuff. He actually gets a lot of
Republicans to vote on stuff, even though he was a Democratic president, and so what he does, like for instance, I went to a teacher
training at SMU one year, and we listened to a
recorded phone conversation of LBJ calling congressmen
to get them to vote for different things, and
it was kind of interesting, because he would call somebody, and LBJ was just somebody
who was just persistent. He also would give people what they called the Johnson treatment, he’d just kind of bully you
into doing what he wanted. He would get in your face
and kind of pressure you. There’s numerous pictures
of him doing this, leaning over somebody and
consuming them or whatever, but there was one phone call in particular we listened to that I thought
was kind of interesting. He calls this guy that he knows can’t vote for his legislation. He’s like “Hey,” and I
forget the guy’s name, let’s just say it’s Bill
or something, he’s like, “Hey Bill, I want you to vote for this piece of legislation.” “Well, you know I can’t do that, Lyndon.” He’s like “Well, no, no, I
know that, but I want you “to call so and so and
I want you to get them “to vote for this bill.” So even if they couldn’t vote for it, because their constituents back home would not allow or did not
want them to vote for it, they would pressure other
congressmen through LBJ to vote for that legislation, and so he was brilliant
at getting stuff passed, and it kind of makes him one of the great political strategists, but by the time he ends
up leaving office in 1969, because of Vietnam War,
which ruined his presidency, he’s gonna start getting back
into drinking alcohol heavily, and then dies two years
later after leaving office, because of really the stress and so forth of what he endured in the presidency.

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