Top 10 State of the Union Addresses

6 / 11

6. Lyndon Johnson - January 4, 1965

In 1964, the country delivered the Democrats a massive landslide, giving President Johnson 61.1 percent of the popular vote, the largest in history. In addition, Democrats occupied 295 seats in the House of Representatives and 68 in the Senate. With these swollen margins -- the party's largest since the New Deal Congresses of 1932-36, LBJ knew that he could get through almost anything he wanted. He also knew that his popularity would not last forever, and that as his popularity dropped, his agenda risked stalling, even with these large majorities.

So he used this address to ask for, in his words "a new quest for union." While the address did not coin the term "Great Society," it did lay out a laundry list of programs that would eventually make up the Great Society: extension of the minimum wage, a request for medical insurance for the poor and elderly, the enactment of a law to protect the rights of African Americans to vote, federal aid to education, and so forth. By the next midterm elections, most of these were enacted into law.


Text of Address

6 / 11
Show commentsHide Comments

Related Articles