U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Halford Ryan | Go to book overview

Kenneth S. Zagacki


Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973)

Through all time to come, I think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have done together in three years of unparalleled achievement.

The political career of Lyndon Baines Johnson spanned the better part of the tumultuous twentieth century. As a congressman, a senator, and especially as president, Johnson struggled with many of the most critical issues of our time, compiling a record of achievement that has been both reviled and revered. Critics have pointed to Johnson's curious mixture of idealism and pragmatism, his failure to take a stand for Civil Rights during his early political career, and his disastrous Vietnam policy. Others have favorably noted Johnson's humble roots, his personal charm, his genuine concern for the downtrodden, and his mastery of political maneuvering.

Born on August 27, 1908, Johnson was reared in the hill country of central Texas. Johnson's early years were filled with insecurity and poverty. Living in such circumstance made for an unhappy childhood, something which dogged Johnson for the rest of his life. He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1930, paying his way with small loans and by working campus jobs. In 1931, at twenty-three years of age, Johnson's political education began when he managed the Washington office of a freshman congressman from South Texas. Here Johnson learned the political ropes and developed important relationships with powerful political officials.

As the depression took hold, Johnson endorsed Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," although he clearly was no liberal ideologue. He could talk conservatism with the best of the conservatives, a trait that served him well throughout his political career. During this period, Johnson became head of the Texas National

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U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • An Introduction to Presidential Oratory ix
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES xvii
  • George Washington (1732-1799) 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 16
  • John Adams (1735-1826) 18
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 26
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 28
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 40
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 43
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 52
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 54
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 63
  • Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 65
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 75
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 77
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 89
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 93
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 107
  • Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) 111
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 132
  • Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) 134
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 144
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 146
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 164
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 168
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 187
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 190
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 204
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) 210
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 225
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) 228
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 245
  • Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) 249
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 269
  • Gerald R. Ford (1913- ) 274
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 296
  • Jimmy Carter (1924- ) 299
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 311
  • Ronald Reagan (1911- ) 316
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 337
  • George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) 344
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 358
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 361
  • RHETORICAL RESOURCES 374
  • Index 377
  • About the Editor and Contributors 387
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