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Lyndon Johnson is one of the most relevant former presents in todays society. President Johnsons programs he introduced to America are the driving force for the welfare of many disenfranchised citizens today. Johnson entered politics as congressman in 1937. Johnson went on to earn a seat as Senator in 1948 and by 1955 he was elected Senator Majority Leader. Over the course of Johnsons political career he passed more major bills than any other president.
As soon as Johnson took office, he urged Congress to pass the tax-cut bill that Kennedy had sent to Capital Hill. The tax cut eventually passed causing 10 billion dollars in cuts to take effect. After proving his potential to pass and making waves Johnson advocated for civil rights. In July of 1964 Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through congress. The Act prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin, in addition to granting the federal government new powers to enforce the laws. This iconic act also ensured voting rights for all Americans by prohibiting literacy test and other discriminatory practices for voting.
After legally making every American equal in the eyes of politics Johnson decided that that was not enough. Johnson now set out to declare war on poverty. In August of 1964 Johnson pushed a series of measures known as the Economic Opportunity Act through Congress. The new act provided a billion dollars in aid to the inner city. This act included programs that are still in effect today like Job Corps, Volunteers in service in America, Project Head Start, and The Community Action Program. Due in part to these successful programs Johnson won reelection by a landslide in 1964. By the time Johnson left the White House in 1969, Congress had passed 206 of Johnsons Great Society legislative initiatives.
Johnson was a huge advocate for education and believed that it was the key which can unlock the door to the Great Society. Johnson passed The Elementary and Secondary Education Act which provided one billion dollars to help public schools buy textbooks and library materials. This Act represented the first major federal aid package for education in American history. After advocating for education Johnson decided to attack the healthcare crisis in the country by establishing programs that benefited the poor. Johnson and Congress enhanced Social Security by establishing Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a program that provides hospital insurance and low-cost medical care for the elderly. Medicares parallel advocacy program Medicaid provided health benefits to the poor.
Johnsons next proposal was to attack the substandard housing crisis that the industrial revolution assisted in creating. Johnson and Congress appropriated money to build 240,000 units of low-rent public housing; established the Department of Urban Development (HUD), and appointed the first black cabinet member, Robert Weaver, as HUDs first leader. Johnson proved his support and loyalty to the African American citizens by genuinely making decisions and passing bills that would advance the one disenfranchised race.
The Great Society went on to bring reform to immigration laws. The Natural Origins Acts of 1920s strongly discriminated against immigration by those outside of Western Europe. The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door for many non-European immigrants to settle in the U.S. This revolutionary Bill gave America back its grounded principals in which the country originated on. Symbolically this piece of legislation was signed on October 3rd in front of the Statue of Liberty.
The Great Society also featured help for the environment. The Water Quality Act of 1964 required states to clean up their rivers and lakes. Pollution and contamination had gotten out of control and corporations were huge beneficiaries to the crisis. President Johnson ordered the government to clean up corporate polluters of the environment. President Johnson realized that Americans were at risk of being taken advantage of by big businesses and he was out to put an end to it. Major safety laws were passed in the U.S. auto industry which resulted in safer transportation. Congress also passed the wholesome Meat Act of 1967. This new law regulates the Federal meat inspection. It requires that states have inspection programs equal to that of the federal government. President Johnson was quoted saying, Americans can now feel safer now in their homes, on the road, and at the supermarket.
The Great Society and the Warren Court changed the United States. No president in the Post-WWII era extended the power and reach of the federal government for than president Johnson. The War on Poverty helped out many poor citizens, the Civil Rights initiative made a difference in the lives of African Americans, and the massive tax cuts spurred the economy. President Johnsons Job Corps, Foodshare, Upward Bound, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security reforms are still today some of the most prominent programs in reference to aiding the less fortunate today. In respect to President Lincoln, President Kennedy, and President Obama; President Johnson is the best president this country has ever seen.
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