April 01, 2009

Let Us Continue: Housing Policy in the Great Society, Part One

Alexander von Hoffman

W09-3: On November 27, 1963, just five days after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, addressed a shocked nation. With solemn and fervent words he urged "let us continue" and pledged to carry on the martyred leader’s programs—such as the Peace Corps, education, care for the elderly, and civil rights. Six weeks later at the annual State of the Union address, Johnson invoked the cause of Kennedy’s programs again, raising them up as essential to the memory of the martyred leader. Nineteen days after giving his State of the Union speech, the new president delivered another message to Congress, his first on a single subject, and laid out his housing program for the year. Within hours Democrats in the House and Senate had introduced bills that embodied Johnson’s proposals.2 As it was in so many legislative areas, Johnson’s time in office would be fruitful for housing policy; indeed, it was the most productive since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal...

Category: Working Papers

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