1964: President Johnson Announces Great Society Program at University of Michigan

May 2, 2018 all-day

On May 2, 1964, plans for a “Great Society” are announced.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, speaking at spring commencement at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, announced his plans for building a “Great Society,” a domestic plan including Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Originally scheduled to last just ten minutes, Johnson’s speech lasted twenty minutes due to fourteen interruptions for applause by the audience. An estimated 85,000 people were in attendance for commencement, which was held at Michigan Stadium. Johnson’s Presidential Papers later revealed that the Ann Arbor commencement address was designed to set the tone for the 1964 election and the administration’s entire domestic policy agenda.

For more information about President Johnson’s Ann Arbor commencement speech, see The Anatomy of a Speech: Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Address by Robert M. Warner.

Source : Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

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