Great Society

DEFINITION of 'Great Society'

A set of domestic programs designed to eliminate poverty and racial injustice in the United States launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. Johnson first used the Term “Great Society” at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, on May 7, 1964, and outlined the program in detail at the University of Michigan on May 22, 1964.

BREAKING DOWN 'Great Society'

The Great Society, which has been compared to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, produced Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, all of which remain government programs.

Legislation passed as part of the Great Society created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, consolidated federal transportation agencies into a cabinet-level  Department of Transportation, and resulted in numerous laws related to consumer protection and the environment.

Great Society programs inspired debate, that continues today, between liberals and conservatives about the appropriate role of government in solving social ills.