Lyndon Johnson Library

The Lyndon Johnson library website hosts numerous fully transcribed and searchable oral history interviews. Topics span Johnson’s full political career, including his time in the House and Senate, as vice president to John Kennedy and as president. Some interviewees themselves had long political careers as civil servants and elected officials. Therefore, researchers interested in regulatory politics of the entire post-war period should search the LBJ library for relevant content.

Unlike some other presidential library oral history projects (see for example the summary of the Carter library), regulation is not a focal point of the LBJ library interviews. Consequently, relevant discussions are scattered throughout the interviews and are often only incidental to any given interview’s general themes.

Nevertheless, some themes of interest do emerge. Interviews that focus on LBJ’s Congressional career include topics pertaining to energy policy and the challenges and opportunities these posed for Johnson as a delegate from Texas. Oil and gas regulation, particularly pertaining to the 1956 “Bill to Amend the Natural Gas Act,” receive attention for its importance of LBJ’s career trajectory and establishment of his position as a national figure. Great Society and Civil Rights legislation, hallmarks of the LBJ administration, also contained regulatory provisions. The follow is a partial list, roughly in descending order of prevalence, of regulatory topics addressed in the transcribed and searchable LBJ library interviews.

  • Oil and Natural Gas (Texas Railroad Commission (in the context of energy policy))
  • Antitrust enforcement though the Justice Department (especially during the Kennedy administration)
  • Regulation of the outdoor advertising industry
  • Lobbying by interest groups and influence on regulatory policy making
  • Kennedy-era attempts to reorganize regulatory agencies
  • Route assignments by the Civil Aeronautics Board
  • Regulatory commission appointments
  • FDA response to the thalidomide tragedy
  • USPS regulations
  • Interviews pertaining to the institution of Medicare and Medicaid and certain provisions of the Civil Rights Act may also have content pertaining to regulation

This list is not exhaustive. It only reflects topics that emerged in an initial survey.  See suggested search strategies for ideas on how to more thoroughly explore this archive’s offerings.

Summary by:  Elizabeth Brake

Agriculture in Mississippi

Project description: The Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi houses many interviews related to agriculture in Mississippi, including interviews pertaining to agriculture, industry and commerce, and interviews with African American farmers.

Regulatory significance: Many interviewees discuss government regulation of their businesses, often in a negative context and as an additional reason for competitive problems during the 1970s and 1980s.

Repository: University of Southern Mississippi

Digital access: No online access.

Physical access: For access to interview materials, visit the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


Behind the Veil Project

Project description: This project consists of more than 1,200 interviews conducted across the U.S. South in an effort to document African American daily life during the Jim Crow era.

Regulatory significance: Some of these interviews offer a glimpse at the role of federal regulation in attempting to redress racially discriminatory laws and practices in the Jim Crow South. A few highlight the role of local regulatory bodies, such as agricultural commissions and zoning boards, in perpetuating racial inequality.

Repository: Duke University

Interview dates: Mostly 1993-1997

Digital access: Some interviews are accessible online.

Physical access: Materials, including audio and some transcripts, are available at Duke University, Durham, NC. See the finding aid for more information about specific interviews and restrictions.