Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks in Houston at Sam Houston Senior High School

November 02, 1964

Mr. Chairman, my friend Ed Ball; Reverend Clergy; our beloved Congressman, your own Albert Thomas; my warm friend, your great Senator, Ralph Yarborough; my friend, the able Congressman from the other district, our friend Bob Casey; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls:

Eleven months and eleven days ago a tragedy happened here in Texas, and I had to assume the duties of the Presidency and take the oath of office in an airplane with the jet motors roaring in a Dallas airport.

That day, when I took the oath and became the 36th President of this country, I said with God's help and with your prayers, I would do the best I could. I have done that every day I have been your President.

Thirty-four years ago, before most of you were born, late one afternoon I left Sam Houston High School to go to Washington, and I remember the school paper said, "We predict that we will hear some more about Mr. Johnson." I guess that somehow or other they anticipated that I might be coming back here to see you tonight.

I have been all over this Nation. I have been in 49 States, and I have landed in 44 of them. I have flown over the others. But Mrs. Johnson went to Alabama and Mississippi that I didn't get to stop in. I flew over them. And Luci went to North Dakota and South Dakota. I didn't get to land in them. I flew over them. And Lynda went to Hawaii.

With the help of my loving family we have been in 49 of the 50 States and we have tried so hard to be President of all the people, for all the people.

We have tried to reason with the leaders of the world, and I saw 85 from 120 countries.

We have tried to bring peace and brotherhood among our fellow men.

We have tried to find jobs for every man and woman that wanted to work, and 5 million more people are working today than were working when Jack Kennedy and I took the oath of office 4 years ago.

We have tried to improve the working conditions and the standard of living for all of our people. And the working people of this country in the last 11 months that I have been President drew $60 billion more in wages than they did the 11 months before, after taxes. We are working fewer hours per day and fewer days per week, and we have more leisure time. The average manufacturing wage is $104 per week, which is the highest in the history of the United States for our working people.

We have tried to improve the education of our children. We have in our platform and we have in our program that we believe and we hope and we will work toward an education for every boy and girl in this country to the extent that he can use it. All that he can take is his right when he is born in America.

We believe that our eider citizens should be able to live their life in decency and dignity, and we are preparing a program for medical care for our eider citizens. We propose to improve and to strengthen the social security system that a Democratic President first gave America, and we don't intend to make it voluntary and ruin it, either.

So we came home tonight to tell you just some of the things that we have been telling the people from Maine to Oregon, from New Orleans, La. to Massachusetts. I am particularly happy to be here on the North Side because you have one of the ablest and one of the most powerful and one of the most effective Congressmen in all the United States, and one of my best friends, Albert Thomas.

I am happy to have my friend Bob Casey on the platform with me tonight. He is a hard working, able Congressman who tries to serve his constituents and their views at all times, and I am happy that he honored me by coming here with me.

Then I want to ask you and tell you something else about Texas. Texas is a great State. It is a growing State. It is a growing State and Houston is leading the way for all the rest of the country.

When President Kennedy was assassinated, he left 51 bills that represented major improvements, and practically every one of those bills was for the average citizen or to improve the lot of the working people, or to help make America better. And the other night when the Congress had come and gone, it was almost midnight, I was sitting there in the White House and I was looking over that list of 51 bills that he left me to carry on for him. And we had passed every one of those 51 bills that he left through the United States Senate, and there is no Senator from any State of the Union at any time that ever gave a President's program more loyal support than your able and your eloquent and your good and your hard working Senator Ralph Yarborough.

Many of those bills improve working conditions for working people. Many of those bills improve education for our children. Many of those bills aided veterans who had carried our flag around the world in two world wars, and who now look to their Government for recognition and for assistance. I am proud to say that on every one of those bills, when they called the roll, Ralph Yarborough was standing up fighting and voting for the people.

I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, but I know what I am going to do. I am going to get up early, and I am going down to that Johnson City, Tex., courthouse and I am going to put a vote in for Ralph Yarborough, and I am not going to do it just because I like him or because he is a friend. I am going to do it because I think that he has loyally and effectively worked for the Democratic program for all the people, and I want to be President of all the people.

You have a precious privilege that many people in many countries don't have. Some of them are fighting for it and many of them would die for it, and a good many have died in order that you might have it. That is the right to go and cast a secret vote. There are great interests at work in the world that would take from you some of the things that you now enjoy. They talk about making your social security voluntary. They talk about collective bargaining. They talk about repealing a lot of laws that have been passed for labor. They talk about throwing away the TVA.

Tomorrow you are going to decide the kind of leadership that you want for this country. I don't know what you are going to decide, but I hope you will go early, I hope you will see that your neighbors go, I hope you will vote for Albert Thomas, Ralph Yarborough, Governor Connally, and those of you from Bob Casey's district, for Bob Casey, and if you are feeling good and don't forget it, I sure know Hubert Humphrey and I would appreciate it if you would throw one in for us.

Note: The President spoke at Sam Houston Senior High School in Houston, Tex. In his opening words he referred to Edgar L. Ball, Monsignor Paul Pieri, pastor of the St. Rose of Lima Church in Houston, and Representative Albert Thomas, Senator Ralph Yarborough and Representative Bob Casey, all of Texas. Later he referred to Governor John B. Connally of Texas.

Early in his remarks the President referred to the time, December 1931, when he left Sam Houston High School, where he was a teacher of speech and debate coach, to go to Washington to work as secretary to Representative Richard M. Kleberg of Texas.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks in Houston at Sam Houston Senior High School Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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