Talk:Great Society

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Civil Rights Act?[edit]

Wouldn't the Great Society include the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Typos 23:23, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't think there's a clear-cut definition as to what Great Society is and isn't, but I think of it as Johnson's name for what he was pushing, mostly in the economic area. The Civil Rights Act was certainly something Johnson got through, but it was part of JFK's legacy. JamesMLane 01:06, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
OK. That makes sense. I only ask, because it seemed to fit the agenda of the Great Society and the Joe Califano article placed it under the same rubric. Typos 04:28, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

POV?[edit]

This statement does not seem neutral: "Another Johnson success was the establishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development." I think it would be fair to say that the creation of HUD and its subsequent policies are not universally or even largely seen as an unqualified success. Even if they are I am not sure that this is a NPOV way to phrase this information. I am going to change this sentence to a more neutral statement about the creation of HUD.

Civil Rights Section[edit]

In the Civil Rights section, a sentence about the Civil Rights Act of 1968 states that it "extended constitutional protections to Indians on reservations." Isn't the correct term for 'Indians' 'Native Americans'? It seems somehow politically incorrect/offensive that they should be referred to as such. 67.162.149.163 19:49, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Good point. I made the change.Leuliett 20:52, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The issue's not so clearcut -- as the article on Native American name controversy points out, many Indians prefer the term "Indian." Indians were closely involved in the creation and the naming of the U. S. National Museum of the American Indian. OtherDave (talk) 21:26, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Great Society template/box?[edit]

More than a {{Presidential Domestic Programs}}, might a {{Great Society}} or {{Great Society Programs}} template be useful? It would start with Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and etc. ? -- Sholom 12:57, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

The legacies of Great Society.[edit]

I find this paragraph troubling for several reasons. I guess I'd like an understanding of the allegations of Alan Brinkley and Charles Murray rather than two quotes using language like "modest achievement" or "being ineffective" & "creating an underclass" lacking any supporting evidence. I'd suggest that this country already had and will always have an "underclass", though I wouldn't characterise any group of people as lazy because it's presumptuous, callous and judgemental. If the War on Poverty were a failure after nearly halving the poverty rate in a brief time, why did the rate increase afterwards never again matching the 1973 rate of 11.1? As they are, these sentences seem more like a pot shot than evidence that the war on poverty failed to improve life for millions of Americans.

Can we find the official poverty rate for blacks in 1960? One sentence says 55%, the next 47%. Both seem stretched to attempt to prove their points. The Census Bureau's website says 55% in 1959 without a figure for 1960. The next figure is 42% in 1966. According to the Census Bureau, the black poverty rate in the US did not fall to 27% until 1997. It was 35% in 1968. While the contributor sites a source, it appears to be inaccurate. The other contributor's source can't be disproven by the Census Bureau because their figures don't go back that far, but I wonder if they're credible.US Census Bureau Historical Poverty Tables

If the War on Poverty was responsible for the destruction of the black family, was it also responsible for gay liberation, the Rolling Stones, race riots and everything else that coincided with that era? This might be an interesting point for analysis. But once again, as it is, the sentence seems like a pot shot rather than a contribution towards a greater understanding of Great Society and those who opposed it--if those opposing it should have a view here as long as we're as cautious as we should be in the presentation of Great Society.

I don't think that this paragraph is helpful or objective. However, I'll disclose that I'm tremendously fond of LBJ and his domestic policies. It may be my bias that prevents something that is objective from seeming objective. In discussing the legacy, I'd like to see an analysis of where we'd be today without Great Society. I suspect each of us benefits a great deal, both culturally and economically, today and I'll endeavour to find credible, objective substantiation soon to bring that point here.

mp2dtw 05:12, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

This entire section could use some reworking. Much of the text specifically addresses the War on Poverty, and probably should be moved to that entry. The "Great Society" isn't a synonym for the "War on Poverty" and this section tends to conflate the two. My intention was to discuss how in recent decades the criticisms of the poverty programs overshadowed the larger Great Society agenda. Leuliett 22:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Part of the confusion with the poverty statistics is that some percentages refer to individuals below the poverty line and some to the number of families below the poverty line. Again, some of this text should be on the War on Poverty entry. Leuliett 22:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
"Legacies" should include both the pros and cons as seen be significant writers instead for the current cons only. Mangomon (talk) 06:01, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Rename the section to "just "Criticisms"? The program descriptions makes the legacy self-evident. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.59.156.68 (talk) 04:32, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

VISTA[edit]

Just a minor point, but the phrase about VISTA (in the War on Poverty section) seems a little misleading to me. To say that VISTA "sent middle-class young people on 'missions' into poor neighborhoods" seems to imply a somewhat condescending "missionary" atittude, as if the VISTAs see themselves as more advanced or more civilized than the poor whom they served. But this missionary atttitude was pretty actively discouraged when i was a VISTA (admitedly not when the program was founded, but in the early nineties.). At that time, The majority of VISTAs were from the communities they served, and they were not necessarily middle class. Even the VISTAs who did come from outside the community were expected to live and work as part of the community and to help the community become self-sufficient, not dependent on do-gooders. I understood that this was always part of the the philosophy of the program, but perhaps I was wrong; does anyone know?Hickoryhillster 04:47, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the VISTA section could be phrased better. The wording was copied from the Reader's Companion to American History, so original work and more neutral wording would be better. Leuliett 22:30, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I tried rewording it, but would welcome further improvements.Hickoryhillster 13:24, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Immigration and Civil Rights[edit]

An anonymous user (who might be a sock puppet for a banned user JerryJones) recently argued for the immigration act of 1965 to be included in Culture and Arts section rather than under Civil Rights. In the broadest sense, all Great Society programs were designed to change "culture". In my opinion the Culture and Arts section should reflect the intent of the Great Society legislative agenda, so the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts, national museums, and public television are the only initiatives that should be included.

Several sources argue for the logic of including the immigration act as in the list of civil rights acts. For example, historian Taylor Branch in the third volume of his definitive history of the civil rights movement, At Canaan's Edge, writes that, although neither politicians nor the press grasped the Immigration Act’s significance at the time, it "rightfully joined the two great civil rights laws as a third enduring pillar of the freedom movement." Furthermore, the publication Federal Civil Rights Statutes: A Primer (September 9, 2005 http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/53772.pdf) compiled by the Congressional Research Service lists the immigration act in its list of federal civil rights statues.

Several analyses of immigration law suggest that the 1965 act "was mainly seen as an extension of the civil rights movement". (e.g. http://www.cis.org/articles/1995/back395.html). Leuliett 16:57, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Heavy Plagiarism from Encarta[edit]

Alas, part of the article is copies word for word from Encarta's article on LBJ. It's online: See [1] --are other parts copies from other sources word for word??

for example: Encarta: Almost immediately 14 separate task forces began thoroughly studying nearly all major aspects of United States society, each working without publicity while it did its job. Presidential assistants Bill Moyers and Richard N. Goodwin helped create these groups, drawing on the expertise of other government officials in selecting the members. During June the task forces were recruited. The average membership was nine, and particular care was taken to include governmental experts, as well as academicians. Each task force was assigned a particular subject: cooperation among government agencies in dealing with financial questions; making the federal government more efficient and less costly; developing policies to prevent economic recessions; developing policies on economic issues related to other countries; and determining how best to help individuals maintain their income. It is notable that only one of these task forces dealt with foreign policy. Many of Kennedy’s committees had dealt with foreign affairs, and he had encountered political problems when their proposals were leaked to the press."

Wiki: Almost immediately 14 separate task forces began thoroughly studying nearly all major aspects of United States society, each working without publicity while it did its job. Presidential assistants Bill Moyers and Richard N. Goodwin helped create these groups, drawing on the expertise of other government officials in selecting the members. During June the task forces were recruited. The average membership was nine, and particular care was taken to include governmental experts, as well as academicians. Each task force was assigned a particular subject: cooperation among government agencies in dealing with financial questions; making the federal government more efficient and less costly; developing policies to prevent economic recessions; developing policies on economic issues related to other countries; and determining how best to help individuals maintain their income. It is notable that only one of these task forces dealt with foreign policy. Many of Kennedy’s committees had dealt with foreign affairs, and he had encountered political problems when their proposals were leaked to the press. I marked the copied passages and credited Encarta. Rjensen 04:48, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't matter, it's an encyclopedia Mactabbed 18:38, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
it does matter. we don't copy Encarta (it's demeaning and violates our reliable sources rules)Rjensen 18:39, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Etymology of the Term[edit]

I was just in a graduate seminar in which we discussed John Dewey and Walter Lippmann. Both authors invoked the term "Great Society" (in caps), and so we wikified it to figure out why proto-communications scholars were throwing this term around in the opening decades of the 20th century. No dice. Nothing. Nada. Googled the term and came up with a few book references (Dewey and Lippmann, Schudson, etc.). Still, I have enough evidence to suspect that "Great Society", as a term, goes back WAY further than Johnson-- maybe a century or more. I'd like to see a disambiguation page so that maybe we can tease out the genesis and history of the term, and its significance in the development of American political and sociological thought.--Markwalters79 01:42, 30 October 2008 (UTC)


---One thought in response: the term may come from Adam Smith's description of the legitimate functions of government in Wealth of Nations. Here's the quote: “First, the duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it [note that this means that, for Smith, an idea of “justice” is integral to political ethics], or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice; and, thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit would never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society.” (from Book 4, Ch. 9. A similar use occurs in Book 5, Ch. 1, and the phrase also appears elsewhere in the book). Note that Smith probably intends "great" to simply mean "large in population." But Smith's phrase directly links notion of "the great society" to large-scale public works that can only be accomplished through government intervention-- the very core of Johnson's ideology. 66.215.152.212 (talk) 19:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)Duff Morton, duffmorton@yahoo.com —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.215.152.212 (talk) 19:57, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

No RS mentions Smith as inspiration--and Smith sounds more like Goldwater proposing highways and military --Smith ignores main themes like poverty & race. Rjensen (talk) 07:50, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Review comments[edit]

Per Wikipedia:WikiProject United States Public Policy/Assessment/EdJohnston#Great Society (1 July 2010) I was asked to give my own evaluation of this article. Individual reviews may differ, but they should give ideas for improving the article.

My numbers:

  • Comprehensiveness = 6/10
  • Sourcing = 4/6
  • Neutrality =1/3
  • Readability = 3/3
  • Illustrations = 1/2
  • Formatting = 2/2
  • Total = 17/26
My review

Overview

  1. Article conveys the basic information well
  2. The lead is well-written, but per WP:LEAD it ought to be only a summary of what is presented later in the article. Roosevelt's programs and Kennedy's New Frontier are mentioned only in the lead, not anywhere else. There are no citations anywhere for the Roosevelt or Kennedy comparisons.
  3. References are mostly 'insider' books or from sources that you would expect to be sympathetic to the program
  4. Inline citations would be highly desirable
  5. Article is structured like a timeline of major bills passed under the Johnson administration. This makes it unclear exactly what reforms were considered to form part of the 'Great Society' package. Are we to infer that Great Society was mostly a marketing term, or do current historians give the GS a well-defined identity? Why are the civil rights bills presented here as part of the Great Society? Do historians agree?
  6. There are many possibilities for how the term 'Great Society' might have originated; it may come from John Dewey. We should probably quote historians for the most likely sources of the term. The article spends time quoting Adam Smith, but that seems to be a speculation by one Wikipedia editor, and is not the opinion of any reliable source.
  7. We have a Category:Great Society programs. It might be possible to organize Great Society better to link to the subarticles. For instance, at the top of the War on Poverty section we could have a template {{main|War on Poverty}}.
  8. Was Great Society only used to refer to the work of the Johnson administration? Did that term play any role in later politics?
  9. If Richard N. Goodwin invented the term Great Society, hasn't he written his own recollections of this period? Wouldn't it be logical to cite him if so?
  10. The paragraph on Economic and social conditions is interesting, but has no sources at all. Was the economy going up or down? What exactly is this paragraph trying to say?
  11. It would be good to have a second image for the article

Individual points

  1. Why is a link to lewrockwell.com (a blog?) being used as documentation for a factual point? The Great Society has critics, but they must have published books that can be cited.
  2. Reference 1 is a link to a book by Jason L. Riley whose title is not given, but must be "Let them in: the case for open borders" (2008). No idea why this would be a good source for the claim that the Great Society expanded under Nixon and Ford.
EdJohnston (talk) 01:25, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Comparison with WP:1.0[edit]

  1. B-Class-1: It is suitably referenced, and all major points have appropriate inline citations.
    Fail: Many major points lack inline citations. More RS, especially secondary, required.
  2. B-Class-2: It reasonably covers the topic, and does not contain obvious omissions or inaccuracies.
    Pass: although Legacy section could be expanded.
  3. B-Class-3: It has a defined structure, including a lead section and one or more sections of content.
    Pass: although lead section could be usefully expanded.
  4. B-Class-4: It is free from major grammatical errors.
    Pass
  5. B-Class-5: It contains appropriate supporting materials, such as an infobox, images, or diagrams.
    Fail: many more images need to be found (suggestions: riots/civil rights/model cities/cultural centers/transportation/consumer protection).
  6. B-Class-6: It presents content in an accessible way.
    Fail: the sole image lacks alt-text.

I'd grade it a good C-Class, and recommend addressing B-1, B-5, B-6 as a priority for improvement. --RexxS (talk) 15:25, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

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