ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

US History: The Great Society 1963 - 1968

Updated on September 22, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

A Disappointing Level of Greatness

The Great Society was a net of American domestic programs initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson (D - Texas) beginning in 1964 to erase poverty and racial injustice from our nation. How effective this net proved to be still is debated in the 21st century.

Some feel that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy near Thanksgiving of 1963 in Dallas, Texas marked the imminent decline of the United States as a leading society in the world.

Many feel that The Great Society of Kennedy's successor did not meet the needs of the people during 1964 through 1968.

92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans have not provided the relief intended.

— Paul Ryan in US Budget Committee's: ""The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later (March 2014)
President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1964 - 1968)
President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1964 - 1968) | Source

Democracy has no problems.

— LBJ's White House, 1964 - 1968

Social Engineering and Democracy

President Lyndon Baines Johnson called for America to be a country free of racial tensions, class and race segregation, poverty, and prejudice.

He continued some of John F. Kennedy's work, but historians wonder how the former president would have proceeded had he not been assassinated in 1963 after approximately 1,000 days in office.

Evidence of Johnson's programs are seen in some of today's events and legislation, but all such social ills were not cured under his administration. In the 2010s, we still have poverty, homelessness, hunger, and some problems with healthcare.

Announcement Made in the Midwest

We declared a War on Poverty that we could not win. Johnson proclaimed the Great Society to replace John Kennedy's Camelot and New Frontier, and to further the work of Civil Rights legislation.LBJ gave a speech of such declaration at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1965 and went on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to delineate the details of his programs for the public.

This great society plan was a continuation of former President Woodrow Wilson’s Progressivism and former President Franklin Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights

Legislation of the Great Society included many laws, among them:

  • Congressional Civil-Rights Act, 1964,
  • The Economic Opportunity Act, 1964,
  • Two education acts in 1965,
  • Voting Rights Act, 1965,
  • The Job Corps,
  • Operation Head Start,
  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA),
  • Medicaid, and
  • Medicare.

All of these programs have continued to have both positive results and problems in America.

In fact, the high school class known as Civics until the 1950s - 1960s, became Problems of Democracy under Johnson and then experienced another name change. During these same LBJ years, the class became Principles of Democracy - because "Democracy has no problems," stated school boards across the nation.

An LBJ Presidential Timeline


  • January 8, 1964. President Johnson declares America's War on Poverty.
  • February. Supreme Court rules that congressional districts will be approximately equal in population.
  • January through December. Leonid Brezhnev helps engineer Khrushchev's fall from power, becomes first secretary of Communist Party.


  • February 1. Martin Luther King, Jr. and 2,500 protesters against voter's registration problems were arrested in Selma, Alabama. This event was documented by the dramatic films Selma in 2014, which won the Oscar for best song, GLORY, written by John Legend and Common.
  • July 1. Los Angeles Riots in Watts.
  • October 22. The Highway Beautification Act, was signed by the President in order to control unwanted advertising billboards on America's Interstates. New land-sculpting and landscaping began to occur at roadway interchanges and on-off ramps as well.

Watts Riots of 1965 - Urban War

The 6 Day War


  • March 15. US Supreme Court reaches a decision on Miranda vs. Arizona. This leads to all arrested persons having the right to be informed of their rights immediately.


  • June 5. Israel's 6 Day War ends.
  • June 17. Communist China reports using its first hydrogen bomb.
  • July 23. Racially motivated Riots in Detroit, NYC, and areas of Connecticut.
  • October 2. First Black Supreme Court Justice was appointed and confirmed: Thurgood Marshall.

Crick-Watson Model in The Double Helix, published 1967
Crick-Watson Model in The Double Helix, published 1967 | Source


  • Jan/Feb. The Tet Offensive is the turning point in the Vietnam Conflict, an undeclared war dating back to the 1940s and conflict between Viet Nam and France.
  • Jan-Dec. Constant protest marches in America. Tariq Ali & Susan Watkins published 1968: Marching in the Streets.
  • April 4. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated in Memphis TN. James Earl Ray is sentenced to 99 years in 1969.
  • June 5-6. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is killed in a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California Primary. Sirhan B. Sirhan was convicted for this in 1969.

  • June 18. The US Supreme Court banned racial discrimination in housing sales and rentals.
  • July 1. USA, UK, USSR, and 58 other nations signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India refused to sign.
  • July 27. A race riot occurred in Gary, Indiana.
  • Jul 30, Saddam Hussein took over internal security in Iraq.
  • August 8. Race riot in Miami.
  • August/September. Race riots in several cities occurred during the hottest days of summer. In Columbus, Ohio the city was under curfews for 3 days.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Command Module pilot, Don F. Eisele, Commander, Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Lunar Module pilot, Walter Cunningham.Apollo 7 mission patch for the 11-day mission, the first manned space flight to broadcast video and audio back to Earth from orbit.
Command Module pilot, Don F. Eisele, Commander, Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Lunar Module pilot, Walter Cunningham.
Command Module pilot, Don F. Eisele, Commander, Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Lunar Module pilot, Walter Cunningham. | Source
Apollo 7 mission patch for the 11-day mission, the first manned space flight to broadcast video and audio back to Earth from orbit.
Apollo 7 mission patch for the 11-day mission, the first manned space flight to broadcast video and audio back to Earth from orbit. | Source
  • October 11. Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, launched.
  • October 12. Mexico City Olympic Games open. Unfortunately, 300 students had been killed by the military in Mexico City weeks before the opening.
  • November 12. The Supreme Court repealed an Arkansas law banning the teaching of evolution.
  • Month unknown, 1968 -- The Association of Black Psychologists was founded. Glamour Magazine put a Black model on the cover for the first time. Hewlett-Packard introduced the world's first programmable scientific desktop calculator - many businesses, however, kept their old, huge, hand-cranked versions.

Humorous Milestones of 1968

Funniest Invention of the Year

Scientists crossed Pacific oysters with Kumamoto oysters and got the Gigomoto oyster. Instead of the best traits of both oysters the unfortunate researchers got the combined worst traits of both.

Funniest Startup of the Year

China established a research center for manned space flight to open in 1973, but canceled it, because of lack of money and political support.

Funniest Weather of the Year

In Mexico there rained hundreds of thousands of maggots on Acapulco, the vacation capital.

Funniest Political Commentary on TV

That was the Week that Was and Laugh In.

Cold War Timeline During the Great Society


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)