Since my last blog post, I have decided to take my independent in a different direction. Two weeks ago, I sat down and watched a documentary on Robert F Kennedy’s life, which is what my last post was summarizing. I watched it for myself to understand who he was so I could later dive into his assassination and the effects of it. While watching it, I found the politics around him intriguing. He grew up in what I would call a comfortable upper middle class family, and throughout his political career, he became increasingly involved in the War on Poverty, and in America’s racial relations, something I would not have expected. While watching the documentary, I realized I wanted to know more, so with some help, I have decided to take my research in a different direction.
I am currently looking at the politics of the War on Poverty in the 1960s, starting with legislation Lyndon B. Johnson passed while in office, and moving towards RFK. In 1968, RFK started to run for president, however he was assassinated that summer before, so we will never truly know what he would have accomplished if he hadn’t died. During his campaign, he ran with a promise of helping out low-income communities, especially those of African Americans. I plan to look into what RFK was planning to do, ultimately seeing the difference and or similarities between him and LBJ.
LBJ was a democrat who ran for president in 1960, though he lost to RFK’s brother, John F. Kennedy. However, Kennedy appointed him as the Vice President when he was elected. Kennedy had many plans for his presidency, including a Civil Rights bill, which Robert urged him to push to Congress, though Kennedy never followed through with it. When LBJ became president following JFK’s assassination, he began to follow through with a lot of the work Kennedy had never finished.
While LBJ was still the Vice President, he did not feel respected by JFK. He felt as though he was more qualified for the presidency rather than the younger, more popular Kennedy, and felt he was not given responsibilities in the White House which were worth his time. Although he mourned the loss of JFK and saw to it that his death was fully investigated, it is possible he felt a sense of power since he finally had the ability to accomplish everything JFK hadn’t. He had an idea, the Great Society, his program for economic reform in the US. This is what my next blog post will be about. I plan on looking into his Great Society idea and the bills he sent to Congress, which included the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a bill JFK had never finished. Welfare was a major initiative Johnson focused on, which RFK was against. I want to be able to answer the question, was it effective? There are conflicting views of him, which this post describes, showing that he was complicated. Either way, all these pieces will help with molding LBJ and RFK’s separate economic ideologies which is the basis of my project.
American Experience: RFK. Grubin, David. 2004.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Lyndon B. Johnson.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encylcoædia Britannica, Inc., 12 Oct. 2018, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Lyndon-B-Johnson.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Great Society.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 21 July 2016, http://www.britannica.com/event/Great-Society.
Bernhardt, Jack. “Why Lyndon Johnson, a Truly Awful Man, Is My Political Hero” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/22/lyndon-johnson-anniversary-death-awful-man-my-political-hero.
Uncredited. President LBJ First Day. Edited by XMB, Dec. 2012. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=apg&AN=85f25b4c1f7a4194845ea062af3267ae&site=ehost-live.