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Who was the more successful president: JFK or LBJ?

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Who was the more successful president: JFK or LBJ? When asked, most people will say that they have heard of John F Kennedy, the 35th US president, and quite possibly many will remark that he was the single greatest president, after perhaps Washington and Lincoln, that ever leaded the US of A. However, in contrast, very, very few will say that they have ever even heard of Lyndon Ben Johnson, the 36th US president, immediate successor to JFK. What we must investigate is whether their respective reputations were deserved, and who was the more successful of the two presidents. To simplify the task, both presidents will be judged according to the following criteria: their prowess in achieving equal civil rights for blacks, their successes and failures in foreign matters, and how much the economy prospered under them. However, in this kind of assessment, quality is much more important than quantity, so that must be taken into account before a conclusion can be drawn. Firstly, we will assess by how much each president improved black civil rights. JFK made a nationwide speech on TV committing himself to improving their civil rights. ...read more.


However, unemployment, especially among blacks but also among white, due to new technology, was rampant. Some critics also said that a boom induced by government spending may shift at any time, and cause a recession. Regarding poverty, JFK passed quite a lot of acts, as well as increasing the minimum wage from $ 1.00 to $1.25. The acts included the Area Redevelopment Act, the Housing Act, the Social Security Act, and the Manpower Development & Training Act. However, unemployment was not helped by the increase in minimum wage, and housing loans didn't really help the poorest people because they couldn't afford houses even with loans, especially as the slum clearance led to housing shortages in the inner cities. LBJ again cut taxes, but he also improved transport links, increased funding for universities, and introduced a range of consumer laws to enable consumers to make out different goods, and to let them return faulty goods. However, he could not control unemployment and inflation which carried over from JFK. In one of his main focuses, decreasing poverty, he was quite successful, as with the Medical Care Act of 1965 he put more funding into health care, he increase the minimum wage ...read more.


LBJ, on the other hand, was really quite a failure regarding foreign matters. His dogged perseverance in keeping the US of A involved in a Vietnam War they were destined to lose was extremely unpopular, and caused deep rifts across the country, as well as severely damaging the economy. A favourite slogan of the time was "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did ya kill today?" The kids are not only US soldiers, but also young Vietnamese ones as well. In conclusion, even after looking at all the evidence, choosing the greater of the two presidents is extremely difficult. However, I believe that JFK, John F Kennedy, was the greater of the two presidents, simply because he prevented possibly the war that could have destroyed the entire world. So although I believe his reputation is justified, I think that LBJ, Lyndon Ben Johnson, deserves a slightly better reputation than the one he currently has, as he was not a spectacular failure at everything, and in fact did some extremely good things for black civil rights and the poor. He deserves, at least, recognition for the way that he targeted some areas that many other presidents didn't want to or didn't have time for. Arka Pal 10E ...read more.

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