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LBJ at Princeton, President Urges Scholars - Support Foreign Policy

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Sound | 1966

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  •  The campus of Princeton University, where President Johnson, in cap and gown, walks in procession at dedication ceremonies for the new Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Afffairs. 
  •  The president is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and during his dedication address the chief executive takes the opportunity to make a firm reply to criticism of his administration's Vietnamese policy. 
  •  Johnson: The exercise of power in this century has meant for all of us in the United States not arrogance, but anger.  
  •  We have used our power not willingly and recklessly ever, always reluctantly, and with restraint. 
  •  Surely it is not a paranoid vision of America's place in the world to recognize that freedom is still indivisible. 
  •  Still has adversaries whose challenge must be answered. Today of course as we meet here that challenge is sternest at the moment in southeast Asia. 
  •  Yet there as elsewhere, our great power is also tempered by great restraint. 
  •  What nation has announced such limited objectives, or such willingness to remove its military presence, once those objectives are secure, and achieved. 
  •  What nation has spent the lives of its sons and vast sums of its fortune to provide the people of a small, striving country to elect a course that we might not ourselves choose. 
  •  The president's plea to scholars for policy support is applauded by both faculty and students.  
  •  Princeton University, Lyndon Johnson In Cap And Gown 
  •  Administration's Vietnam Policy 
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May 11, 1966 - President Johnson urges scholars to support foreign policy. At the dedication of the new building housing the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the president appeals to the nation's intellectuals for understanding and support of his Vietnamese policy, and makes a firm reply to critics of that policy.
Thirty-sixth president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born on a hill country farm near Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908 to Samuel Ealy Johnson, a former Texas legislator, and Rebekah Baines Johnson.  He attended Southwest Teachers College, now Texas-State University, graduating with a degree in history and social science in 1930. LBJ spent one year as principal and teacher in Cotulla, educating impoverished Hispanic elementary school students. LBJ became the secretary to Texas Congressman Richard M. Kleberg in 1931; the four year position helped him gain influential contacts in Washington. Johnson married Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor on November 17, 1934.
LBJ acted as Director of the National Youth Administration in Texas from 1935 to 1937. Johnson won his first legislative election in 1937 for the Tenth Congressional District, a position he held for eleven years. He was a firm supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal and in 1940 acted as Chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee. In 1948, following his service as a Lieutenant Naval Commander during World War II, LBJ ran as the Democratic nominee for Senate. In a cloud of controversy, he narrowly defeated former Texas Governor Coke Stevens and easily beat his Republican opponent in the general election.  Before winning his second senate term, LBJ was elected Majority Whip in 1951, became the youngest ever Minority Senate Leader in 1953, and was voted Majority Leader in 1954. Johnson unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 but was selected to be Vice-President under John F. Kennedy. 
Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 and won reelection in 1964. President Johnson passed landmark legislation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Debate over military efforts in Vietnam intensified in late 1963 when the President stated that the United States would not withdraw from Southeast Asia. Escalation of the war against North Vietnam brought disapproval from Democrats, claiming the efforts were misguided, and from Republicans who criticized the administration for not executing sufficient military vigor. Antiwar protests, urban riots, and racial tension eroded Johnson’s political base by 1967, which further dissolved following the Tet Offensive in January 1968. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced that we would not seek a second Presidential term.
After returning to Texas, Johnson oversaw the construction of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Throughout his political career, LBJ was an influential figure in Texas affairs; his policies brought military bases, crop subsidies, government facilities, and federal jobs to the state. After suffering a massive heart attack, former President Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973. In February of the same year, NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in honor of one of the country’s most influential Texans.