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The Leadership Capital IndexA New Perspective on Political Leadership$
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Mark Bennister, Ben Worthy, and Paul 't Hart

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198783848.001.0001

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From Triumph to Tragedy

From Triumph to Tragedy

The Leadership Paradox of Lyndon Baines Johnson

(p.63) Chapter 4 From Triumph to Tragedy
The Leadership Capital Index

Jon Johansson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the paradox of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential leadership. Widely acclaimed for his brilliant transition to the presidency after the national trauma of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, this chapter reveals how LBJ exploited his extraordinary high levels of leadership capital to achieve truly historic legislative successes, notably the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965), and a crushing electoral victory in 1964. The chapter also reveals how the very skills and character strengths that made Johnson a domestic tour de force did not translate into foreign policy, with fatal consequences for his presidency once his leadership capital collapsed around his failed policies in Vietnam. Ultimately, character-related weaknesses helped LBJ’s leadership descend into tragedy and collapse.

Keywords:   Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, presidential succession, leadership paradox, civil rights, Vietnam War, Leadership Capital Index, character

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