LBJ sponsored the largest reform agenda since Roosevelt's New Deal. Following are the most important pieces of legislation.
- The Civil Rights Act: Banned discrimination based on race and gender in employment and ended segregation in all public facilities.
- The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964: Created the Office of Economic Opportunity aimed at attacking the roots of American poverty and established a Job Corps to provide career training.
- Head Start: Helped disadvantaged pre-school students arrive at kindergarten ready to learn.
- The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA): Served as a national Peace Corps. Schools in poor American regions received volunteer teaching attention. Federal funds were sent to struggling communities to attack unemployment and illiteracy.
- The Wilderness Protection Act: Saved 9.1 million acres of forest land from industrial development.
- The Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Provided major funding for American public schools.
- The Voting Rights Act: Banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods that prevented African Americans from voting.
- Medicare: Offset the costs of health care for the nation's elderly.
- The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities: Used public money to fund artists and galleries.
- The Immigration Act: Ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin.
- A Housing Act: Provided funds to build low-income housing.
- Air and Water Quality Acts: Tightened pollution controls.
- Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.
By 1966, Johnson had made progress in the area of civil rights, but the events in Southeast Asia became a distraction. Funds he had hoped to use for fighting poverty were spent on the Vietnam War.
Source: Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”
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