Presidents and Protesters: Political Rhetoric in the 1960s

By Theodore Otto Windt Jr. | Go to book overview

also created the genuine problems of maintaining public support for the war. Johnson did not have a great problem, as some critics have maintained, explaining why we were in Vietnam or what his war aims were. He explained them very well, especially at Johns Hopkins and in his press conference. The problem developed later because few wanted to risk their lives for symbolic purposes. They wanted tangible goals and tangible results. Thus, Johnson later found himself attacked by both liberals and conservatives. The opponents of the war found Vietnam an unworthy place to demonstrate our symbolic efforts and found Vietnam unworthy of the mayhem and death inflicted on Americans, both in the war and on the domestic front. They wanted out. They did not want to be real people in somebody else's symbolic drama. ( President Reagan solved this problem without abandoning the principle by creating a proxy army, the Contras, to fight a proxy war in Nicaragua.) Supporters of the war effort found the symbolic goals insufficient and wanted to increase our effort to achieve victory over the North Vietnamese communists.

Johnson did have rhetorical problems in presenting his policies in Vietnam to the American public. But his real problem came from American strategic and military thinking, with applying the doctrine of credibility to the situation in Vietnam. It did not fit. It did not work. It ruined his presidency. Americans grew frustrated, impatient, and angry to the point that Johnson had to seek a negotiated settlement and withdraw from the 1968 presidential campaign.


Conclusion

President Johnson's press conference of July 28, 1965, was important because it announced a new American policy in Vietnam, a policy of Americanizing the war. In fact, Johnson made no bones about what was happening. In speaking about the dissension in South Vietnam, he said: "But we must not let this mask the central fact that this is really war." To that end, Johnson increased the number of combat troops in Vietnam by 50,000 and doubled the draft, two sure indications that America was going to war. In his opening statement Johnson used the main arguments for American involvement that would be used throughout the war to justify our continuing that effort.

Despite what critics have written, Johnson did lay out the arguments for war in explicit terms, that is, in terms of the anticommunist ideology in America. The goal of North Vietnamese aggression, Johnson said, was the dominion of communism over

-103-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Presidents and Protesters: Political Rhetoric in the 1960s
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 320

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.