Although President Lyndon Baines Johnson had won America's 1964 presidential election by a landslide—as depicted in this image showing electoral-college votes—he was mired in the Vietnam War by the time he had to decide whether to seek another 4-year term in 1968. He chose not to run again—a decision which surprised most Americans.


Protests against the war increased as more young men were "drafted" into the Army.

"The Draft" was both feared and hated. Who would be called up next? Or, as many people thought at the time, who would end up in the next batch of body bags?

After the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, both American and Vietnamese casualties increased dramatically. So did American knowledge of murders being committed in Vietnam.

In 1966, Bobby Kennedy was expressing his own views on the war. (This link takes you to an interesting two-page Press Release from Senator Kennedy on the status of the war in 1966.)  By 1968, he wanted America to get out of Vietnam.

Tensions in the country continued to mount.  LBJ decided he could not seek another term as America's leader.  He wanted to work full time to get Americans out of Southeast Asia.  Campaigning for office would have interfered with that objective.  He planned to tell the country his decision on March 31, 1968.

In a live televised speech, LBJ surprised the American people, and most of his supporters, with his decision.  He had kept the news to himself and a few trusted people.  He even waited to release the teleprompter copy of his address until shortly before air time.  The words he wanted to keep secret until he spoke them on the broadcast?

I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

The Presidential Daily Diary reflects LBJ's great personal certainty and relief about his decision. But President Nixon, eager to take office after the 1968 election, did not learn from LBJ's mistakes.

Student unrest and protest movements would grow dramatically during Nixon's Administration.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jul 19, 2019

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"LBJ LEAVES THE WHITE HOUSE" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2000. Jan 18, 2020.
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