Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-73) became the 36th president of the United States following the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). Upon taking office, Johnson, a Texan who had served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, launched an ambitious slate of progressive reforms aimed at alleviating poverty and creating what he called a “Great Society” for all Americans. Many of the programs he introduced–including Medicare and Head Start–made a lasting impact in the areas of health, education, urban renewal, conservation and civil rights. Despite his impressive domestic achievements, however, Johnson’s legacy was equally defined by his failure to lead the nation out of the quagmire of the Vietnam War (1954-75). He declined to run for a second full term in office, and retired to his Texas ranch after leaving the White House in January 1969.