Lyndon B. Johnson on "The Great Society" (1964)

On May 22, 1964, the graduating students of the University of Michigan were personally asked by the President to join him in a battle to make America great. Here are some of the words used by Lyndon B. Johnson to inspire a commitment to end poverty and injustice.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. coeducational
    attended by members of both sexes
    This university has been coeducational since 1870, but I do not believe it was on the basis of your accomplishments that a Detroit high school girl said, “In choosing a college, you first have to decide whether you want a coeducational school or an educational school.”
  2. tranquility
    an untroubled state that is free from disturbances
    I have come today from the turmoil of your Capital to the tranquility of your campus to speak about the future of your country.
  3. subdue
    hold within limits and control
    For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent.
  4. industry
    persevering determination to perform a task
    For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.
  5. initiative
    readiness to embark on bold new ventures
    Your imagination and your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth.
  6. indignation
    a feeling of righteous anger
    Your imagination and your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth.
  7. unbridled
    not restrained or controlled
    Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth.
  8. abundance
    the property of a more than adequate quantity or supply
    The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all.
  9. injustice
    the practice of being unfair
    It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time.
  10. enrich
    make better or improve in quality
    The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents.
  11. destiny
    a course of events that will inevitably happen in the future
    It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.
  12. despoil
    destroy and strip of its possession
    The catalog of ills is long: there is the decay of the centers and the despoiling of the suburbs.
  13. erode
    become ground down or deteriorate
    Worst of all expansion is eroding these precious and time honored values of community with neighbors and communion with nature.
  14. innovation
    the creation of something in the mind
    And our society will never be great until our cities are great. Today the frontier of imagination and innovation is inside those cities and not beyond their borders.
  15. splendor
    the quality of being magnificent or grand
    For once the battle is lost, once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured.
  16. sustenance
    a source of materials to nourish the body
    And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.
  17. poverty
    the state of having little or no money and possessions
    Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty.
  18. capacity
    capability to perform or produce
    It means exploring new techniques of teaching, to find new ways to stimulate the love of learning and the capacity for creation.
  19. assemble
    collect in one place
    We are going to assemble the best thought and the broadest knowledge from all over the world to find those answers for America.
  20. cooperation
    the practice of working together on a common enterprise
    They require us to create new concepts of cooperation, a creative federalism, between the National Capital and the leaders of local communities.
  21. federalism
    government divided between central and regional powers
    They require us to create new concepts of cooperation, a creative federalism, between the National Capital and the leaders of local communities.
  22. realm
    a domain in which something is dominant
    Within your lifetime powerful forces, already loosed, will take us toward a way of life beyond the realm of our experience, almost beyond the bounds of our imagination.
  23. appoint
    assign a duty, responsibility, or obligation to
    For better or for worse, your generation has been appointed by history to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age.
  24. morality
    the quality of being in accord with right or good conduct
    You can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.
  25. enjoin
    give instructions to or direct somebody to do something
    So, will you join in the battle to give every citizen the full equality which God enjoins and the law requires, whatever his belief, or race, or the color of his skin?
  26. enduring
    unceasing
    Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace—as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?
  27. foundation
    the basis on which something is grounded
    Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?
  28. timid
    showing fear and lack of courage
    There are those timid souls that say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth.
  29. civilization
    a society in an advanced state of social development
    We have the power to shape the civilization that we want.
  30. exploit
    a notable achievement
    So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.
Created on March 28, 2017 (updated September 9, 2019)

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