Lbjs Great Society Essay

Also on this day

Lead Story

1999

The euro debuts

On this day in 1999, for the first time since Charlemagne’s reign in the ninth century, Europe is united with a common currency when the “euro” debuts as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union (EU) nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the...

American Revolution

1796

Congress accepts Colors of the French Republic

On this day in 1796, the House of Representatives accepts the Colors, or flag, of the French Revolutionary Republic, proclaiming it the most honorable testimonial of the existing sympathies and affections of the two Republics. In an accompanying message, the French Committee of Public Safety lauded the United States as the...

Automotive

1996

GM announces its electric car

On this day in 1996, General Motors announces at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show it will build an electric car, dubbed the EV1, to be launched in the fall of that year. The EV1 wasn’t an entirely new concept, as electric vehicles had been around since the auto industry’s nascent...

Civil War

1863

Confederate General Roger Hanson dies

On this day in 1863, Confederate General Roger Weightman Hanson dies at age 35 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His death was a result of wounds sustained two days earlier at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee. Hanson was born in 1827 in Clark City, Tennessee. He served during the Mexican War (1846-48)...

Cold War

1950

The God That Failed published

The God That Failed, a collection of essays by six writers and intellectuals who either joined or sympathized with the communist cause before renouncing the ideology, is published by Harpers. The book provided interesting insight into why communism originally appealed to, and then disappointed, so many adherents in the...

Crime

1964

Boston Strangler strikes again

Mary Sullivan is raped and strangled to death in her Boston apartment. The killer left a card reading “Happy New Year” leaning against her foot.Sullivan would turn out to be the last woman killed by the notorious Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, who had terrorized the city between 1962 and 1964,...

Disaster

1990

Trains collide in Pakistan

Two trains collide in Sangi, Pakistan, on this day in 1990, killing between 200 and 300 people and injuring an estimated 700 others. This was the worst rail accident to date in Pakistan. The train Zakaria Bahauddin (named after a holy man according to Pakistani tradition) had a capacity of 1,400...

General Interest

1896

Utah enters the Union

Six years after Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon church, issued his Manifesto reforming political, religious, and economic life in Utah, the territory is admitted into the Union as the 45th state.In 1823, Vermont-born Joseph Smith claimed that an angel named Moroni visited him and told him about an ancient...

1974

President Nixon refuses to hand over tapes

President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over tape recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee. Marking the beginning of the end of his Presidency, Nixon would resign from office in disgrace eight months later.

1987

Segovia begins final U.S. tour

Spanish guitar great Andres Segovia arrives in the United States for his final American tour. He died four months later in Madrid at the age of 94.Segovia was hailed for bringing the Spanish guitar from relative obscurity to classical status. Born in Spain’s southern region of Andalusia–the original home...

1995

104th Congress under Republican control

The 104th Congress becomes the first held entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era. Thanks to Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America,” the Republican Party won majority control of congress for the time in forty years.

Hollywood

2003

National Society of Film Critics honors The Pianist

The National Society of Film Critics, comprising 55 of America’s top critics, holds its 37th annual meeting at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City on this day in 2003. The critics chose the director Roman Polanski’s wrenching Holocaust drama The Pianist as best picture of the previous year,. As a young...

Literary

1785

Jacob Grimm is born

On this day, the older of the two Grimm brothers, Jacob, is born in Hanau, Germany. His brother Wilhelm is born the following year. As young men, the two brothers assisted some friends with research for an important collection of folk lyrics. One of the authors, impressed by the brothers’ work,...

1965

Poet T.S. Eliot dies in London

Poet T.S. Eliot dies in London at age 76. Eliot’s The Waste Land, published in 1922, is considered the single most influential work of poetry of the twentieth century. In 1948 he was bestowed the Order of Merit by King George VI and in the same year was awarded...

Music

1964

Bobby Vinton tops the pop charts with the last #1 single of the pre-Beatles era

Sitting atop the Billboard charts in the first week of January, 1964, Bobby Vinton—”the Polish Prince”—was enjoying the ninth top-40 hit of his young career with “There! I’ve Said Again.” Not only was this the third #1 single for Vinton in a span of just 18 months, but it was...

Old West

1847

Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government

Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers. Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or...

Sports

2006

Vince Young leads Texas over USC in the Rose Bowl

On January 4, 2006, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young makes an eight-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 19 seconds left in the game, capping one of the best individual performances in college football history while leading his team to a Rose Bowl victory and a national championship title...

Vietnam War

1965

Johnson reaffirms commitment to South Vietnam

In his State of the Union message, President Lyndon B. Johnson reaffirms U.S. commitment to support South Vietnam in fighting communist aggression. In justifying the continued support to Saigon, Johnson pointed out that U.S. presidents had been giving the South Vietnamese help for 10 years, and, he said, “Our...

1974

Thieu announces war has resumed

South Vietnamese troops report that 55 soldiers have been killed in two clashes with communist forces. Claiming that the war had “restarted,” South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu asserted, “We cannot allow the communists a situation in which…they can launch harassing attacks against us,” and ordered his forces to launch...

World War I

1913

Alfred von Schlieffen dies

German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen, mastermind of an aggressive German military strategy that will soon be used, in modified form, at the start of the Great War, dies on this day in 1913 in Berlin. The son of a Prussian general, Schlieffen entered the army in 1854 and...

World War II

1944

United States begins supplying guerrilla forces

On this day, U.S. aircraft begin dropping supplies to guerrilla forces throughout Western Europe. The action demonstrated that the U.S. believed guerrillas were a vital support to the formal armies of the Allies in their battle against the Axis powers. Virtually every country that experienced Axis invasion raised a guerrilla force;...

It was 45 years ago today, on July 30, 1965, that part of the Great Society of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson was realized, as the president signed into law acts creating Medicare and Medicaid. The acts guaranteed health insurance for the elderly and the poor, respectively. Medicare, in particular its cost and its coverage, has been at the center of many political debates ever since, including Barack Obama’s health-care bill that was passed earlier this year.

The photo below is of the signing ceremony, which was held at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. To Johnson’s left is former president Harry S. Truman, who received the first Medicare card. Also pictured, behind Truman, is Bess Truman, as well as Lady Bird Johnson (in blue), and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey (to Lady Bird’s left). To Johnson’s right is Senator Edward Long.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum/NARA

At the signing ceremony, Johnson began, “The people of the United States love and voted for Harry Truman, not because he gave them hell–but because he gave them hope.” He went on to add:

No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts.

And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.

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