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Lyndon B. Johnson: A Featured Biography


Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas

When Texas congressman Lyndon Johnson won election to the Senate in 1948, he took the hotly-contested race by a margin of just 87 votes, earning the nickname “Landslide Lyndon.” Quickly, he allied himself with Senator Richard B. Russell, the Georgia Democrat who chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee and the powerful Southern Caucus. With Russell's support, Johnson became Democratic whip in 1951 and two years later was elected Democratic leader. When his party regained control of the Senate in 1955, Johnson became majority leader, a post he held until he resigned to become vice president. As leader, Johnson relied heavily on his powers of persuasion, a strategy known as the “Johnson Treatment,” which he used to guide to passage such legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He sought the presidency in 1960, but became the vice presidential candidate when John F. Kennedy won the nomination. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, sent Johnson to the White House.