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Great Society

From Academic Kids

The Great Society was a set of domestic programs enacted in the United States on the initiative of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

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President Johnson announcing the goals of the Great Society on May 22, 1964.

Johnson summarized his goals in a speech at Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1964. A main focus of the Great Society social reforms an "end to poverty and racial injustice". One component that transformed American politics was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Another Johnson success was the establishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Other programs included:

The Great Society was never fully funded because of the Vietnam War, during the period of most active American involvement (1965-1975), drained available resources. The program was heavily criticized by conservatives like Charles Murray who criticized it in his 1984 book Losing Ground as being ineffective and creating an underclass of lazy citizens. One of Johnson's aides, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., has countered that, "from 1963 when Lyndon Johnson took office until 1970 as the impact of his Great Society programs were felt, the portion of Americans living below the poverty line dropped from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent, the most dramatic decline over such a brief period in this century." [1] (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/1999/9910.califano.html)

The Great Society was later partially overturned by President Ronald Reagan's first budget.

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