36th President of the United States (1963-1969)
Those were the words uttered by Johnson to a joint session of Congress less than a week after John F. Kennedy’s presidency was ended by an assassin’s bullet. Echoing a line from Kennedy’s inaugural address—“Let us begin”—Johnson urged the nation: “Let us continue.” The former Senate majority leader wasted no time in developing his legislative agenda. He sought to employ his Oval Office position, Texas attitude, congressional acumen and old-fashioned horse-trading to build bipartisan for tax cut, voting rights, civil rights and medical care legislation. Moreover, he used the country’s sorrow to bolster his bully pulpit and gain public support for his ambitious program. He would transform Kennedy’s New Frontier into his Great Society. In 1965, Johnson had a second 100 days, after he was elected to a full term as president. During that period, historians record that he got Congress to pass more than 200 pieces of legislation, including landmark reforms of education and civil rights and the creation of Medicare. His legislative output goes unmatched by any modern president.
Highlights from his first 100 days:
• In address to joint session of Congress, Johnson urges members to pass pending legislation on civil rights, education, foreign aid and the Kennedy tax cut bill.
• He appointed the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald’s murder.
• After U.S. students cause riots in the Canal Zone by raising the American flag, Johnson is forced to renegotiate the Panama Canal Treaty of 1903.
• After Cuban Premier Fidel Castro cuts of water supply to Guantanamo naval base, Johnson instructs the military to develop their own source.