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Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes About Government, Civil Rights and More

Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President of the United States of America. I can’t believe that we will swear in the 46th President of the United States in just a few short weeks. We can learn many things from these Lyndon B. Johnson quotes as we usher in a fresh round of elected officials.

Johnson spoke about freedom, politics, education, and poverty, which are still hot-button issues today.

He was born in Stonewall, Texas, and was the eldest of five siblings. He was elected as the class president when he was in 11th grade.

Johnson graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College and served in the US House of Representatives from 1937 to 1949. He was also a veteran of the United States Army.

He moved on to the Senate from 1949 to 1961. Johnson became John F. Kennedy’s vice president in 1961. He was most known for the ‘Johnson Treatment,’ the term coined to explain his aggressive approach.

Lyndon B. Johnson quotes about education, opportunity, and equality

1. “Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

2. “Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

3. “We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

4. “Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty.”— Lyndon B. Johnson

5. “We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. It is time now to write the next chapter – and to write it in the books of law.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

6. “We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society but upward to the Great Society.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

7. “We have entered an age in which education is not just a luxury, permitting some men an advantage over others. It has become a necessity without which a person is defenseless in this complex, industrialized society. We have truly entered the century of the educated man.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

8. “The fifth freedom is freedom from ignorance.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

9. “If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

10. “The CIA is made up of boys whose families sent them to Princeton but wouldn’t let them into the family brokerage business.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

11. “I don’t believe I’ll ever get credit for anything I do in foreign affairs, no matter how successful it is, because I didn’t go to Harvard.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

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12. “To conclude that women are unfitted to the task of our historic society seems to me the equivalent of closing male eyes to female facts.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

13. “When I was young, poverty was so common that we didn’t know it had a name.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Wise Lyndon B. Johnson quotes

14. “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

15. “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles, and it must be taken one step at a time.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

16. “You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

17. “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

18. “I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. First, let her think she’s having her own way. And second, let her have it.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

19. “I’d rather give my life than be afraid to give it.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

20. “While you’re saving your face, you’re losing your ass.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

21. “Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

22. “If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

23. “The noblest search is the search for excellence.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Inspirational Lyndon B. Johnson quotes about God, Peace, and War

24. “I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help – and God’s.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

25. “The guns and the bombs, the rockets, and the warships are all symbols of human failure.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

26. “We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

27. “In our home, there was always prayer – aloud, proud, and unapologetic.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

28. “It is always a strain when people are being killed. I don’t think anybody has held this job who hasn’t felt personally responsible for those being killed.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

29. “No member of our generation who wasn’t a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

30. “The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson quotes about politics and government

31. “I seldom think of politics more than eighteen hours a day.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

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32. “It is the genius of our Constitution that under its shelter of enduring institutions and rooted principles there is ample room for the rich fertility of American political invention.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

33. “It is important that the United States remain a two-party system. I’m a fellow who likes small parties, and the Republican Party can’t be too small to suit me.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

34. “The last thing I wanted to do was to be a wartime President.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

35. “The separation of church and state is a source of strength, but the conscience of our nation does not call for a separation between men of state and faith in the Supreme Being.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

36. “A man without a vote is a man without protection.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

37. “I am a freeman, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

38. “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

39. “You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

40. “This administration here and now declares unconditional war on poverty.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

41. “Freedom is not enough.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

42. “I want to make a policy statement. I am unabashedly in favor of women.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson quotes that show what he thought about the office of the presidency

43. “I once told Nixon that the Presidency is like being a jackass caught in a hailstorm. You’ve got to just stand there and take it.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

44. “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.'” — Lyndon B. Johnson

45. “The presidency has made every man who occupied it, no matter how small, bigger than he was; and no matter how big, not big enough for its demands.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

46. “When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

47. “A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right but to know what is right.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

48. “There is but one way for a president to deal with Congress, and that is continuously, incessantly, and without interruption. If it is really going to work, the relationship has got to be almost incestuous.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

49. “There are no favorites in my office. I treat them all with the same general reconsideration.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

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50. “Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for the good.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

51. “Democracy is a constant tension between truth and half-truth and, in the arsenal of truth, there is no greater weapon than fact.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

More Lyndon B. Johnson quotes and sayings

52. “Doing what’s right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what’s right.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

53. “Evil acts of the past are never rectified by evil acts of the present.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

54. “If we must disagree, let’s disagree without being disagreeable.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

55. “You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is knowing what is right.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

56. “Education is the key to opportunity in our society, and the equality of educational opportunity must be the birthright of every citizen.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

57. “When a person finds themselves predisposed to complaining about how little they are regarded by others, let them reflect how little they have contributed to the happiness of others.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

58. “The job, of course, will never be finished. For a nation, as for an individual, education is a perpetually unfinished journey, a continuing process of discovery.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

59. “At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

60. “It’s the price of leadership to do the thing you believe has to be done at the time it must be done.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

What did you learn from these Lyndon B. Johnson quotes?

The lack of authority and purpose within the vice president’s office was frustrating to Johnson, and he sought to make some changes.

He was met with opposition, and people were not happy with his mannerisms and connections. Kennedy wanted to keep him busy, so he wouldn’t complain to the reporters he knew.

Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One on November 22, 1963. He won the 1964 election with Hubert Humphrey as his running mate.

If you wonder what Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished during his presidency, it might surprise you to know that he did a lot. He passed a substantial tax cut, the Clean Air Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

His administration was also responsible for creating Medicare and Medicaid, thanks to the Social Security Amendments of 1965.

He might not have been the most friendly president, but he was not the worst one. Leave any other Lyndon B. Johnson quotes and sayings that didn’t make the list in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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  1. Jeremiah

    June 14, 2021 at 4:16 AM

    “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again. [Said to Senator Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA) regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1957]”

    ― Lyndon B. Johnson

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