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LBJ and the Great Society

Updated 8 days ago

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President Lyndon B. Johnson is today remembered largely for his failure in Vietnam. But before the war sunk his presidency, LBJ compiled a record of accomplishment on the domestic front unmatched since FDR. Medicare, civil and voting rights, clean air and water, Head Start, immigration reform, public broadcasting — fifty years later, these programs are so deeply woven into the fabric of American life that it is difficult to imagine the country without them. LBJ and the Great Society is a window on this transformative moment in U.S. history, and the larger-than-life figure at the center of it. Hosted by Melody Barnes, chief domestic policy advisor to Barack Obama and now co-head of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia. The series is a sequel to LBJ's War (also available in this feed), which mined a largely unheard trove of recordings from the White House to tell the story of Johnson's ruinous misadventure in Vietnam.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson is today remembered largely for his failure in Vietnam. But before the war sunk his presidency, LBJ compiled a record of accomplishment on the domestic front unmatched since FDR. Medicare, civil and voting rights, clean air and water, Head Start, immigration reform, public broadcasting — fifty years later, these programs are so deeply woven into the fabric of American life that it is difficult to imagine the country without them. LBJ and the Great Society is a window on this transformative moment in U.S. history, and the larger-than-life figure at the center of it. Hosted by Melody Barnes, chief domestic policy advisor to Barack Obama and now co-head of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia. The series is a sequel to LBJ's War (also available in this feed), which mined a largely unheard trove of recordings from the White House to tell the story of Johnson's ruinous misadventure in Vietnam.

iTunes Ratings

376 Ratings
Average Ratings
329
29
10
2
6

Must hear!

By Aeonskyy - Feb 09 2020
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Beautiful storytelling about one of the most consequential presidents we have had !!

LBJ and the great society

By veghouse - Feb 06 2020
Read more
History come alive. Where was this podcast when I was in high school? So good.

iTunes Ratings

376 Ratings
Average Ratings
329
29
10
2
6

Must hear!

By Aeonskyy - Feb 09 2020
Read more
Beautiful storytelling about one of the most consequential presidents we have had !!

LBJ and the great society

By veghouse - Feb 06 2020
Read more
History come alive. Where was this podcast when I was in high school? So good.
Cover image of LBJ and the Great Society

LBJ and the Great Society

Latest release on Feb 25, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: S1 Ep 3 LBJ's War - The Carrot and the Stick

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By the spring of 1965, pressure is building on President Johnson to make his case for the war to the American electorate. He resists, preferring to manage the conflict without public scrutiny, but finally agrees to go public, in a speech at Johns Hopkins University.  The strategy behind the speech: a little something for everybody.  A look at how that strategy works out, and what it reveals about LBJ's congenital bias for secrecy.

Sep 05 2017

18mins

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Rank #2: S1 Ep 4 LBJ's War - Parting the Curtains

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For fifteen months, LBJ kept the country largely in the dark about the Vietnam War. Then, in February ’66, the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and its chairman William Fulbright, administered a strong dose of sunlight.

Sep 12 2017

22mins

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Rank #3: S1 Ep 5 LBJ's War - The Preacher and the President

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“I’ll try to be worthy of your hopes,” LBJ told Martin Luther King, just days into his presidency, and for the next two years, largely made good on that vow. Dr. King, for his part, recognized their common goal – racial and economic justice – and threw his own considerable weight behind it, until finally, the war in Vietnam made it impossible to do so any longer. A look back at the 1967 speech that broke their bond forever.

Sep 19 2017

21mins

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Rank #4: S2 Ep 3 - The Bully Pulpit

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“We will not win our war against poverty until the conscience of the entire Nation is aroused,” LBJ told an aide. But how to do that when most Americans were doing reasonably well and barely knew poverty was an issue?

Somehow LBJ would have to convince a risk-averse and price-sensitive congress to back a costly, new government program aimed at solving a problem many voters barely knew existed. Johnson's solution: the 1965 Poverty Tour, a blitz campaign that would take the president into the country's poorest and most neglected communities in a bid to make the American electorate aware of the largely hidden poverty in their midst, and to rally their support behind his ambitious plan to do something about it.

Commentary and analysis: Joshua Zeitz, author of “Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House.” Learn more at LBJsGreatSociety.org.

Feb 18 2020

32mins

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Rank #5: S2 Ep 2 - Mr. Poverty

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"I didn't know a damn thing about poverty and didn't want the job," Sargent Shriver would later recall, of his conversation with the president, “and I told him so.” But it was no use: Lyndon Johnson had fixed on Shriver to lead his newly declared war on poverty, and that was that. But could poverty really be eradicated? And if so, how? It fell to the reluctant recruit to figure that out, and fast. Johnson had given him just six weeks to turn a dauntingly ambitious idea into a legislative program, and somehow get it through a deeply change-resistant Congress.

Contributing historian: Joshua Zeitz. Learn more at LBJsGreatSociety.org.

Feb 11 2020

25mins

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