142+ Best Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to by the initials LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. Profoundly inspirational Lyndon B. Johnson quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

Famous Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I’ll have those n**gers voting Democratic for the next 200 years. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The noblest search is the search for excellence. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We believe, that is, you and I, that education is not an expense. We believe it is an investment. – Lyndon B. Johnson

This nation, this generation, in this hour has man’s first chance to build a Great Society, a place where the meaning of man’s life matches the marvels of man’s labor. – Lyndon B. Johnson

In modern warfare there are no victors; there are only survivors. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The poor suffer twice at the rioter’s hands. First, his destructive fury scars their neighborhood; second, the atmosphere of accommodation and consent is changed to one of hostility and resentment. – Lyndon B. Johnson

To conclude that women are unfitted to the task of our historic society seems to me the equivalent of closing male eyes to female facts. – Lyndon B. Johnson

You might say that Lyndon Johnson is a cross between a Baptist preacher and a cowboy. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We need to remember that the separation of church and state must never mean the separation of religious values from the lives of public servants. . . If we who serve free men today are to differ from the tyrants of this age, we must balance the powers in our hands with God in our hearts. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It is happily and kindly provided that in every life there are certain pauses, and interruptions, which force consideration upon the careless, and seriousness upon the light, points of time where one course of action ends and another begins. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Come now. let us reason together. – Lyndon B. Johnson

This is a moment that I deeply wish my parents could have lived to share. My father would have enjoyed what you have so generously said of me-and my mother would have believed it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We come to reason, not to dominate. We do not seek to have our way, but to find a common way. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Today, 8 million adult Americans, more than the entire population of Michigan, have not finished 5 years of school. Nearly 20 million have not finished 8 years of school. Nearly 54 million – more than one-quarter of all America – have not even finished high school. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The best fertilizer for a piece of land is the footprints of its owner. – Lyndon B. Johnson

He’s got great vision. If he can get outside, he can take it all the way. That’s what we were worried about. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Nothing is more despicable than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigour of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay of strength into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him, and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The American Indian, once proud and free, is torn now between White and tribal values; between the politics and language of the White man and his own historic culture. His problems, sharpened by years of defeat and exploitation, neglect and inadequate effort, will take many years to overcome. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We have entered an age in which education is not just a luxury permitting some men an advantage over others. It has become a necessity without which a person is defenseless in this complex, industrialized society. We have truly entered the century of the educated man. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Jerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity. – Lyndon B. Johnson

A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he’s going to get sick on it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We must open the doors of opportunity. We must equip our people to walk through those doors. – Lyndon B. Johnson

In the years since then, those four freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – have stood as a summary of our aspirations for the American Republic and for the world. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I believe that the essence of government lies with unceasing concern for the welfare and dignity and decency and innate integrity of life for every individual. I dont like to say this and wish I didnt have to add these words to make it clear but I willregardless of color, creed, ancestry, sex or age. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take. We want this not only for his sake – but for the future of our nation’s sake. Nothing matters more to the future of our country: not our military preparedness – for armed might is worthless if we lack the brainpower to build world peace; not our productive economy – for we cannot sustain growth without trained manpower; not our democratic system of government – for freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I’d rather give my life than be afraid to give it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It’s too bad, but the way American people are, now that they have all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they’ll probably just piss it all away. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I do not find it easy to send the flower of our youth, our finest young men, into battle. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There is no Constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong – deadly wrong – to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States’ rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. – Lyndon B. Johnson

In my state, on the basis of the separate but equal doctrine, we have made enormous strides over the years in the education of both races. Personally, I think it would have been sounder judgment to allow that progress to continue through the process of natural evolution. However, there is no point crying about spilt milk. – Lyndon B. Johnson

‘If you let a bully come in and chase you out of your front yard, he’ll be on your porch and the next day he’ll rape your wife in your own bed. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we’ll have to fight in San Francisco. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It’s the price of leadership to do the thing you believe has to be done at the time it must be done. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Republicans simply don’t know how to manage the economy. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Sometimes among our more sophisticated, self-styled intellectuals–and I say self-styled advisedly; the real intellectual I am notsure would ever feel this way–some of them are more concerned with appearance than they are with achievement. They are more concerned with style then they are with mortar, brick and concrete. They are more concerned with trivia and the superficial than they are with the things that have really built America. – Lyndon B. Johnson

This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Doing what’s right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what’s right. – Lyndon B. Johnson

But if future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than with sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as God really made it, not just as it looked when we got through with it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Our objective in South Vietnam has never been the annihilation of the enemy. It has been to bring about a recognition in Hanoi that its objective – taking over the South by force – could not be achieved. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Just like the Alamo, somebody damn well needed to go to their aid. Well, by God, I’m going to Viet Nam’s aid! – Lyndon B. Johnson

No national sovereignty rules in outer space. Those who venture there go as envoys of the entire human race. Their quest, therefore, must be for all mankind, and what they find should belong to all mankind. – Lyndon B. Johnson

As man draws nearer to the stars, why should he not also draw nearer to his neighbor? – Lyndon B. Johnson

In a nation of millions and a world of billions, the individual is still the first and basic agent of change. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Lincoln was right about not fooling all the people all the time. But Republicans haven’t given up trying. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. First, let her think she’s having her own way. And second, let her have it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is knowing what is right. – Lyndon B. Johnson

You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’ – Lyndon B. Johnson

Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, ‘His color is not mine,’ or ‘His beliefs are strange and different,’ in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this nation. – Lyndon B. Johnson

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Democracy is a constant tension between truth and half-truth and, in the arsenal of truth, there is no greater weapon than fact. – Lyndon B. Johnson

A rioter with a Molotov cocktail in his hands is not fighting for civil rights any more than a Klansman with a sheet on his back and mask on his face. They are both more or less what the law declares them: lawbreakers, destroyers of constitutional rights and liberties and ultimately destroyers of a free America. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone’s achievement. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There are no favorites in my office. I treat them all with the same general inconsideration. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The job, of course, will never be finished. For a nation, as for an individual, education is a perpetually unfinished journey, a continuing process of discovery. – Lyndon B. Johnson

But more classrooms and more teachers are not enough. We must seek an educational system which grows in excellence as it grows in size. This means better training for our teachers. It means preparing youth to enjoy their hours of leisure as well as their hours of labor. It means exploring new techniques of teaching, to find new ways to stimulate the love of learning and the capacity for creation. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I once told Nixon that the Presidency is like being a jackass caught in a hail storm. You’ve got to just stand there and take it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood. – Lyndon B. Johnson

When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. It is time now to write the next chapter – and to write it in the books of law. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help – and God’s. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The presidency has made every man who occupied it, no matter how small, bigger than he was; and no matter how big, not big enough for its demands. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There are plenty of recommendations on how to get out of trouble cheaply and fast. Most of them come down to this: Deny your responsibility. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The atomic bomb certainly is the most powerful of all weapons, but it is conclusively powerful and effective only in the hands of the nation which controls the sky. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Our numbers have increased in Vietnam because the aggression of others has increased in Vietnam. There is not, and there will not be, a mindless escalation. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The separation of church and state is a source of strength, but the conscience of our nation does not call for separation between men of state and faith in the Supreme Being. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I want to make a policy statement. I am unabashedly in favor of women. – Lyndon B. Johnson

John F. Kennedy was the victim of the hate that was a part of our country. It is a disease that occupies the minds of the few but brings danger to the many. – Lyndon B. Johnson

What we won when all of our people united must not be lost in suspicion and distrust and selfishness and politics. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as president. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The Russians feared Ike. They didn’t fear me. – Lyndon B. Johnson

When I was a boy we didn’t wake up with Vietnam and have Cyprus for lunch and the Congo for dinner. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The CIA is made up of boys whose families sent them to Princeton but wouldn’t let them into the family brokerage business. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I believe we can continue the Great Society while we fight in Vietnam. – Lyndon B. Johnson

While you’re saving your face, you’re losing your ass. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I don’t believe I’ll ever get credit for anything I do in foreign affairs, no matter how successful it is, because I didn’t go to Harvard. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If the American people don’t love me, their descendants will. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I feel like I just grabbed a big juicy worm with a right sharp hook in the middle of it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty. – Lyndon B. Johnson

We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I seldom think of politics more than eighteen hours a day. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America. – Lyndon B. Johnson

A man without a vote is man without protection. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I am a freeman, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order. – Lyndon B. Johnson

In our home there was always prayer – aloud, proud and unapologetic. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The last thing I wanted to do was to be a wartime President. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for the good. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I am concerned about the whole man. I am concerned about what the people, using their government as an instrument and a tool, can do toward building the whole man, which will mean a better society and a better world. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There is but one way for a president to deal with Congress, and that is continuously, incessantly, and without interruption. If it is really going to work, the relationship has got to be almost incestuous. – Lyndon B. Johnson

What convinces is conviction. Believe in the argument you’re advancing. If you don’t you’re as good as dead. The other person will sense that something isn’t there, and no chain of reasoning, no matter how logical or elegant or brilliant, will win your case for you. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Our most tragic error may have been our inability to establish a rapport and a confidence with the press and television with the communication media. I don’t think the press has understood me. – Lyndon B. Johnson

This is not Johnson’s war. This is America’s war. If I drop dead tomorrow, this war will still be with you. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Greater love hath no man than to attend the Episcopal Church with his wife. – Lyndon B. Johnson

No member of our generation who wasn’t a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling rejected by the American people. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the war. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It may be, it just may be, that life as we know it with its humanity is more unique than many have thought. – Lyndon B. Johnson

This administration here and now declares unconditional war on poverty. – Lyndon B. Johnson

When I was young, poverty was so common that we didn’t know it had a name. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Whether we are New Dealer, Old Dealer, Liberty Leaguer or Red, whether we agree or not, we still have the right to think and speak how we feel. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Whoever won’t fight when the President calls him, deserves to be kicked back in his hole and kept there. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets. America and Israel have a common love of human freedom, and they have a common faith in a democratic way of life. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I am making a collection of the things my opponents have found me to be and, when this election is over, I am going to open a museum and put them on display. – Lyndon B. Johnson

When things haven’t gone well for you, call in a secretary or a staff man and chew him out. You will sleep better and they will appreciate the attention. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It is the genius of our Constitution that under its shelter of enduring institutions and rooted principles there is ample room for the rich fertility of American political invention. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It is always a strain when people are being killed. I don’t think anybody has held this job who hasn’t felt personally responsible for those being killed. – Lyndon B. Johnson

You’ve got to work things out in the cloakroom, and when you’ve got them worked out, you can debate a little before you vote. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Jack was out kissing babies while I was out passing bills. Someone had to tend the store. – Lyndon B. Johnson

They call upon us to supply American boys to do the job that Asian boys should do. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It is important that the United States remain a two-party system. I’m a fellow who likes small parties and the Republican Party can’t be too small to suit me. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I believe the destiny of your generation – and your nation – is a rendezvous with excellence. – Lyndon B. Johnson

One lesson you better learn if you want to be in politics is that you never go out on a golf course and beat the President. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I report to you that our country is challenged at home and abroad: that it is our will that is being tried and not our strength; our sense of purpose and not our ability to achieve a better America. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The moon and other celestial bodies should be free for exploration and use by all countries. No country should be permitted to advance a claim of sovereignty. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Democrats legislate; Republicans investigate. – Lyndon B. Johnson

He was the one person I ever knew, anywhere, who was never afraid. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I wrote once every two or three weeks for about a year, … and then about a year ago, I got an e-mail. – Lyndon B. Johnson

Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken shit from chicken salad. – Lyndon B. Johnson

There’s so much that we have yet to do — the hunger in the world, the sickness in the world, the poverty in the world. We must apply some of the great talents that we’ve applied to space to all these problems, and get them done, and get them done in the spirit of what’s the greatest good for the greatest number. – Lyndon B. Johnson

The world has narrowed to a neighborhood before it has broadened to a brotherhood. – Lyndon B. Johnson

For Bird, still a girl of principles, ideals and refinement – from her admirer, Lyndon. – Lyndon B. Johnson

It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in. – Lyndon B. Johnson

I hope your mind’s not as empty as that desk – Lyndon B. Johnson

The guns and bombs, the rockets and the warships, all are symbols of human failure. – Lyndon B. Johnson

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