Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960

By Robert Dallek | Go to book overview

8
Politics, Patriotism, and Personal Gain

LYNDON described the months after his defeat as "the most miserable in his life. I felt terribly rejected, and I began to think about leaving politics and going home to make money." To cheer him up, friends echoed his own hope that his "day of triumph" was "only delayed." Senator Claude Pepper of Florida wired him: "I know what has happened and why it has happened. But I know too that the people will avenge their wrongs. You can count on that." While thoughts of eventually serving in the Senate buoyed him, Lyndon saw more immediate and larger reasons to get back into political harness after the Senate race. "In the end, I just couldn't bear to leave Washington," he later told Doris Kearns, "where at least I still had my seat in the House. Besides, with all those war clouds hanging over Europe, I felt that someone with all my training and preparedness was bound to be an important figure."1

In the summer of 1941 he believed it essential for the United States to enter the war. Like 85 percent of the American public, Johnson saw recent British defeats in the Balkans, North Africa, and the Atlantic as compelling U.S. participation. But unlike most Americans, who remained ambivalent about fighting, Johnson thought it imperative to enter the conflict as soon as possible or before it was too late to aid Britain. Where some Americans saw Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22 as easing the need for U.S. involvement, Johnson called it further evidence of America's need to combat Nazi plans for world conquest. Political considerations were also part of Johnson's thinking. Because preparedness was an issue on which most Texans agreed, Lyndon intended to put it at the center of a 1942 campaign against O'Daniel. 2

-225-

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Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction LBJ in History 3
  • Part One - The Making of a Politician 1908-1937 11
  • 1 - The Heritage 13
  • 2 - Childhood 31
  • 3 - Student and Teacher 62
  • 4 - Kleberg's Secretary 93
  • 5 - The Making of a Congressman 125
  • Part Two - The Congressman 1937-1948 157
  • 6 - The New Dealer 159
  • 7 - National Politics 185
  • 8 - Politics, Patriotism, and Personal Gain 225
  • 9 - The Liberal as Conservative 268
  • 10 - Texas Elects a Senator 298
  • Part Three - The Senator 1949-1954 349
  • 11 - The Best Possible Senator for . . . Texas 351
  • 12 - For Country, Party, and Self 392
  • 13 - Bipartisan Politics 426
  • Part Four - The Majority Leader 1955-1960 465
  • 14 - The Making of a Majority Leader 467
  • 15 - The Liberal Nationalist 509
  • 16 - The Making of a Vice President 544
  • Sources 593
  • Abbreviations in the Notes 611
  • Notes 613
  • Index 701
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