Lessons Learned: LBJ Announces He Will Not Seek Reelection

Lessons Learned: LBJ Announces He Will Not Seek Reelection


A new installment of “Lessons Learned” is now out. This week I discuss Lyndon B. Johnson’s announcement on March 31, 1968, that he would not seek reelection as president. In the video, I discuss how Johnson’s decisions on Vietnam derailed a presidency that had accomplished historic success on domestic issues. Here’s a question to consider when thinking about foreign policy: why are presidents so eager to pursue an activist foreign policy when history suggests that it so often hurts them politically? I encourage you to weigh in with your answer in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy the video.

If you are interested in learning more about Lyndon Johnson, his policies in Vietnam, or the presidential election of 1968, here are some books worth reading:

Irving Bernstein. Guns or Butter: The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. (1996)

Robert Dallek. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973. (1999)

Robert Dallek. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960. (1992)

Brian VanDeMark. Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. (1995)

Theodore H. White. The Making of the President, 1968. Reissue ed. (2010)