U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson After the Presidency

About the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, biography and history of his post-presidential career.

36th President



After attending the inauguration of his successor, Richard Nixon, the 60-year-old Johnson retired to the LBJ Ranch. There he worked on his memoirs (published in 1971) and helped to launch the Lyndon B. Johnson Public Affairs Foundation at the University of Texas. Despondent because his "enemies" had destroyed his presidency, he decided, "There's nothing I can do about it anymore. So I might as well give up and put my energies in the one thing they cannot take away from me--and that is my ranch." He ran his ranch with the same all-consuming energy and dedication that had marked his life in politics. In a typical talk to his field hands, he said, "I want each of you to make a solemn pledge that you will not go to bed tonight until you are sure that every steer has everything he needs." Often he would come home at ten at night, his Texas boots crusted with mud and dung, to tell his dinner guests about the price of beef and egg production problems. "He's become a goddamned farmer," one old friend complained. "I want to talk Democratic politics. He talks only hog prices." After his heart condition worsened in 1972, he ignored the advice of his doctors and started smoking for the first time in years. He also ate too much and allowed himself to put on weight. To the distress of his wife and friends, LBJ would only shrug his shoulders. "I'm an old man," he said, "so what's the difference?" He lived only four years after leaving the White House.

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