Lyndon Baines Johnson

— 36th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery


November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969

BORN: August 27, 1908
Near Johnson City, Texas
January 22, 1973, San Antonio, Texas
Buried in LBJ Ranch, Stonewall, Texas
OCCUPATION: Congressman, senator, rancher
Claudia Alta (Lady Bird) Taylor, 1934
Lynda Bird, Luci Baines

Johnson grew up amid hardship in Texas. Aside from his chores, Johnson earned spare change as a hired hand on neighboring farms. He was a printer's helper on a local newspaper, he shined shoes, and he trapped and sold animal skins. His father, a Texas state legislator, talked about politics. "If you can't come into a roomful of people and tell right away who is for you and who is against you, you have no business in politics," his father said.

With his mother's help, Johnson learned the alphabet at age two and was reading by age four.

Johnson worked his way through Southwest Texas State Teachers College as a trash collector, janitor, and finally as an assistant to the president's secretary. He was on the debating team and wrote editorials for the campus newspaper.

Johnson taught school briefly before becoming secretary to a Democratic U.S. representative from Texas. He was elected U.S. representative in 1937, took time off to serve the country in World War II, and kept his seat until 1949. He was U.S. senator from Texas from 1949 until he became John Kennedy's vice president in 1961.He defeated Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential campaign.

The presidency of Johnson, or LBJ, was full of conflict both at home and overseas.As the war in Vietnam escalated, student unrest at home resulted in riots at many major college campuses. At the same time, riots also erupted as poverty and civil rights abuses continued. The turbulence of the times and the growing public disdain for the presidency caused Johnson to decide not to run for reelection 1968.

Johnson was responsible for the furthest-reaching civil rights and social welfare legislation of any president after World War II. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 resulted in a large increase in the numbers of minority voters.

In his retirement, LBJ wrote his memoirs and attended to the operation of his ranch. He died January 22, 1973 at his ranch at the age of 64.

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