Learn American History through 50 pop songs

The Great Society


The Great Society was a set of domestic programs proposed or enacted in the United States on the initiative of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period.


© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

LBJ had aspirations
In his mind he had a vision
A vision of a better country
One he called the Great Society

LBJ said a vital key
Was a full-fledged war on poverty
He passed laws helping folks
Clinging to the outskirts of hope

He gave Medicare to seniors
Medicaid to the poor
Within the Great Society
Everyone had a little more

LBJ valued education
And all of America’s children
He spent well over a billion bucks
On school libraries and books

LBJ thought discrimination
A cancerous abomination
So voter and civil rights acts
He introduced fought for and passed

He gave Medicare to seniors
Medicaid to the poor
Within the Great Society
Everyone had a little more

“The Great Society is a place
Where every child can find
Knowledge to enrich his mind

Where leisure is a welcome
Chance to build and reflect
Not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness

Where the city of man
Serves not only the need of the body
But desire for beauty and the hunger for community

Where man can contact nature
And honor creation for its own sake
And for what adds to the understanding of race”

LBJ improved urban living
With better middle and low income housing
He established HUD with Robert Weaver
The first African American cabinet member

LBJ had aspirations
But the Great Society had limitations
Some complained of federal growth
And as Vietnam loomed, distractions rose

He gave Medicare to seniors
Medicaid to the poor
Within the Great Society
Everyone had a little more
Everyone had a little more
Everyone had a little more!


The Great Society— The Great Society program was President Lyndon Johnson's agenda for Congress in January 1965. Included were aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, and a wide-scale fight against poverty.

LBJ— Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States from 1961 to 1963.

Medicare— Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria.

Medicaid— Medicaid is the United States health program for eligible individuals and families with low incomes and resources.

HUD— The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government. It was founded in 1965 as part of the "Great Society" program of President Lyndon Johnson to develop and execute policies on housing and cities.

Robert Weaver— Robert Clifton Weaver (December 29, 1907 – July 17, 1997) served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (also known as HUD) from 1966 to 1968. He was the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position in the United States.

Vietnam— The Vietnam War was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from September 26, 1959, to April 30, 1975.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

Explain three programs of the Great Society and how they aimed to help Americans.

Tier 2 Questions

Compare and contrast the Great Society to the New Deal. Use specific examples of programs in each.

Tier 3 Questions

Have there been any policies or reforms instituted under President Obama that reflect ideas of the Great Society? Explain your thoughts thoroughly.

Test Prep Questions

1) The term Great Society was used by President Lyndon B. Johnson to describe his efforts to

  • (1) lower taxes for all Americans
  • (2) win the race for outer space
  • (3) end poverty and discrimination in the United States
  • (4) improve the nation’s armed forces

2) One goal of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was to

  • (1) improve the quality of life for the poor
  • (2) privatize many government programs
  • (3) send additional troops to Vietnam
  • (4) reduce the number of nuclear weapons

3) A major goal of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program was to

  • (1) control economic inflation
  • (2) end poverty in the United States
  • (3) repeal several New Deal social programs
  • (4) return responsibility for welfare programs to the states

4) In 1965, Congress established M0edicare to

  • (1) provide health care to the elderly
  • (2) assist foreign nations with their health problems
  • (3) grant scholarships to medical students
  • (4) establish universal health care

5) A major goal of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society was to

  • (1) provide government aid to business
  • (2) end poverty in the United States
  • (3) conserve natural resources
  • (4) stop emigration from Latin America

6) President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were similar to Progressive Era programs in that both

  • (1) strictly enforced antitrust laws
  • (2) focused on expanding civil rights for African Americans
  • (3) used federal government power to improve social conditions
  • (4) made urban renewal their primary concern

7) Which federal government program was designed to solve the problem illustrated in this cartoon?

  • (1) Great Society
  • (2) New Federalism
  • (3) Peace Corps
  • (4) Dollar Diplomacy

8) Which initiative was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program?

  • (1) providing medical care to the poor and elderly
  • (2) reducing federal aid to education
  • (3) increasing foreign aid to the Soviet Union
  • (4) opposing civil rights legislation

9) President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society is similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in that both programs

  • (1) sought ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee equality for women
  • (2) advocated passage of civil rights laws to help African Americans
  • (3) supported federal funding of programs for the poor
  • (4) approved efforts by states to reduce taxes for the middle class

10) Which action was a common objective of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society?

  • (1) eliminating nuclear weapons
  • (2) helping those living in poverty
  • (3) lowering barriers to immigration
  • (4) breaking up business monopolie