The Great Society, High and Low

in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226684482
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226684505 | DOI:
The Great Society, High and Low

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By early 1967 it was clear to most observers, and to the president himself, that the Great Society was running out of steam, and facing so many obstacles, Johnson began to wonder “why he had ever wanted to be President.” Urban violence swept the nation, making earlier conflicts seem minor. Riots in Detroit and Newark in particular dwarfed any seen before. The administration would face a flurry of proposals and criticism for its neglect of cities, and Weaver would endure withering criticism both within the administration and from outside as he struggled to manage the Department of Housing and Urban Development bureaucracy and come up with ways to respond to urban decline. Out of this conflict emerged significant new legislative programs. In 1968 Weaver achieved his two major goals — the passage of a federal fair-housing law and a dramatic expansion of federal housing programs. Both laws marked significant progress and would spur the construction of thousands of units of housing while at the same time opening opportunities to African Americans and other minorities. But these victories would be clouded by the continued trouble within American cities and the escalating conflict in, and over, Vietnam, both of which would lead to Johnson's decision to withdraw his name from the presidential ballot.

Keywords: Robert C. Weaver; urban violence; African Americans; fair-housing law; federal housing programs; urban decline

Chapter.  10547 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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