Lyndon B. Johnson's Domestic Policies

Instructor: Jennifer Da Silva

Jennifer taught high school social studies and currently teaches history at the collegiate level. She has a master's degree in history.

A Southern Democrat and former member of the United States Navy, House of Representatives, and the Senate, President Johnson called upon his years of service to the country in multiple arenas to mark his legacy with his domestic policy.

Lyndon Baines Johnson

In November 1960, Lyndon Baines Johnson became the 37th Vice President of the United States serving under President John F. Kennedy. However, on November 22, 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson commenced his role as the 36th President of the United States. President Johnson, sometimes referred to as LBJ, was president from that fateful day in November 1963 until January 20, 1969. Over the course of his term as President, LBJ designed his domestic agenda around the notion of a 'Great Society,' focusing on the creation and development of programs improving the lives of Americans across a variety of facets.

Education and the Arts

LBJ grew up in poverty in Texas and understood the importance and the value of education. In 1964, he passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The ESEA doubled the amount of federal money allocated for public schools, with the idea of providing a major chunk of the money to school districts with a majority of its families living below the poverty line. The second major piece of education legislation is the Higher Education Act of 1965, which allocated college funding for lower income students. LBJ also wanted to ensure that education was available at home. In 1967, he created the Public Broadcasting Act which created educational television programs. To ensure that education was spread throughout society, in 1965 the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts were passed to protect and support the humanities and the arts. Both still exist today.

Poverty and Urban Development

President Johnson recognized that families in low income communities have limited resources and limited access to early childhood education for their children. He ensured legislation was passed that created important programs such as Head Start to provide pre-school children with the needed resources for a successful start to their education. LBJ also created the Work Study program and made it available to college students as a way to 'work off' or offset some of their college expenses. President Johnson believed not only in bettering the people but also communities. He created the Model Cities Program, which provided funding to inner cities plagued with violence and poverty, working with local governments to improve the lives of its citizens.


Education alone may have paved the path to American dreams for poor, American citizens, but for others outside the United States, a path toward American citizenship was their golden ticket. In 1965, President Johnson passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, ending a biased admittance system. This act doubled the number of immigrants from previously overlooked parts of the world like Asia and Mexico.


The debate over healthcare reform is not new. LBJ also tackled this topic back in 1965 and managed to pass several pieces of legislation that are still used today. Under his leadership, Medicare and Medicaid were passed. Medicare provides insurance to people over the age of 65 and people under the age of 65 that are disabled. Medicaid provides insurance to people with low incomes.

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