Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, was a man of great ambition, vision and contradictions. Born to Rebekah Baines and Sam Ealy Johnson in 1908, Lyndon was the eldest of five children, all raised in the Texas Hill Country, a hard and unforgiving land on which even cattle could not thrive. His mother was a well-educated and cultivated woman at odds with the life thrust upon her when she married Sam Ealy Johnson. Sam was an unsuccessful farmer who at times made enough money to keep his family comfortable, but sought refuge in a bottle during the less prosperous moments. His happiest moments were those spent as a member of the Texas House of Representitives, a place he often brought young Lyndon. Lyndon, always a bright but undisciplined child, attended a teachers college in San Marcos and taught Mexican-American boys mired in poverty, an experience that would shape his politics forever. After a few years teaching, Lyndon went to Washington as a local Texas Congressmen's secretary and thus began a career in politics that would evetually take him to the presidency. While there he met and married Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor and had two daughters, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines. He was soon elected to Congress, and then to the Senate in 1948 where he quickly rose through the ranks until he became the Senate Majority Leader, a position he re-shaped into one of the most powerful in Washington. In 1960, after a brief and frustrating Presidential bid, he accepted the nomination as Kennedy's running mate and spent the next three years in the shadow of the younger and more dynamic President. But Johnson's ambition would be realized in a way he never imagined when JFK was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.moreless
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