Lyndon B. Johnson's Legacy Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

The Great Society was a group of programs designed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 1960’s, he introduced this set of programs at the University of Ohio and then at the University of Michigan. These programs, sometimes referred to as social reforms, focused on the elimination of poverty and racial injustices in the United States. Johnson named these programs The Great Society and designed them to provide help to the poor in education, insurance, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and various Civil Rights that denied the poor. Johnson believed that poverty was a problem for everyone, for all citizens, business, labor unions, churches, charities and government, and government. Thus, everyone had to assume the responsibility of working together to eliminate poverty by waging total war against it.(“Letters to Sargent”)
Health and Welfare insurance was another main focus of the Great Society in the war against poverty. In 1965, the Social Security Act authorizing Medicare insurance provided federal founding to pay for many of the medical costs of older Americans over 65 years of age. Further, on July 30, 1965, Medicaid was created under Title Xix of the Social Security Act. This made it possible for welfare recipients of all ages to get Medicare by 1966. To further assist with health care in America, The Food Stamps Act of 1964 made it possible to provide food and nutrition for low-income senior citizens and children. Seniors were able to receive hot, nutritious meals which were delivered to their homes, and with the passing of the child nutrition act in 1966, the school breakfast program was implemented. In the fight against poverty, senator Harkin in speech during the 50th anniversary of the Great Society states, “Let us dare to imagine a true health care system where wellness, prevention, and public health are the first priority, fully funded and keeping people healthy.” These acts and programs were a step forward in the elimination of poverty (“Statement by President”). The Great Society health programs have been effective. Before 1963, most elderly americans had no health insurance, and few retirement plans offered coverage. In addition, the poor could not get medical treatment unless they were in critical condition. With help from efforts of the Great Society, life got better for the poor.
Other major policies of the Great Society included Civil Rights which addressed various injustices inflicted upon the poor. Lyndon Johnson believed the Great Society was an instrument to create racial justice and eliminate poverty. When he became president, the country was segregated. Stores, theaters, restaurants, housings, public facilities, schools, and hotels were all segregated. The poor was disregarded and denied the right to vote and to obtain an adequate education. However, the Great Society sought to end segregation and civil injustices by creating various acts to assure equal opportunities and rights...

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