On May 22nd, 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson launched his program for a “Great Society” in a speech at the University of Michigan. “The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all,” Johnson began. “It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning.” 84 bills later, Johnson’s war on poverty was in full effect, expanding to sectors in education, medicine, housing, and many more. Did the Great Society program fail or succeed? Amity Shlaes, New York Times bestselling writer and author of the new book Great Society: A New History, gives us a full picture.
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