Dialogue: The Great Society, Then and Now

Apr 30, 2019

President Lyndon Johnson, photographed at a press conference in November, 1967.
Credit Yoichi Okamoto, via the LBJ Presidential Library

Fifty-five years ago this month, President Lyndon Johnson delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan. His speech that day wasn’t really aimed at the graduating seniors, but to members of Congress and the American people.

"In your time," Johnson said, "We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society."

The Great Society: the catch-all term for an ambitious legislative agenda that redrew the boundaries of the federal government. Johnson was largely successful, and because of that, his decisions influence our current debates about civil rights, voting rights, immigration policy, and public education to name just a handful.

On this edition of Dialogue, an overview of Great Society legislation, how it’s evolved since the 1960s and why it matters today.

Wednesday, May 1, at noon Eastern on 91.9 FM, WUOT.