Serving as Democratic whip when Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson resigned in 1961 to become vice president, Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) was a logical choice to succeed Johnson. He was reluctant to become floor leader, however, being a Catholic at a time when the nation had just elected its first Catholic president. President John Kennedy and Vice President Johnson convinced him to take the job, and Mansfield served an unprecedented 16 years as majority leader. His style of leadership, which shared power widely among senators, facilitated enactment of a profusion of Great Society legislation. He was particularly instrumental in breaking the filibuster to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mansfield returned to the Capitol in 1998 to inaugurate the Leader's Lecture Series.