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date: 14 June 2021

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On May 22, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in place of the late President John F. Kennedy, who had been originally invited to speak. Johnson used the occasion to outline his vision of the American promise, which he labeled the Great Society. Building on the accomplishments of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy, Johnson hoped to recruit the youth of America—especially its growing number of college graduates—into his campaign against poverty and want in America. Johnson’s fervor to fulfill the promise of America was not shared by many Congressional leaders, and the success of his anti-poverty programs largely depended on the president’s personal popularity.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964, Book 1, November 22, 1963-June 30, 1964. (Washington, DC: United States General Printing Office, 1965): 704–707.

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