Lyndon Baines Johnson, or “LBJ” (1908–1973), was the thirty-sixth president of the United States (1963–1969), assuming the office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Domestically, Johnson pushed through a series of ambitious programs collectively called the “Great Society,” which were aimed at addressing poverty and racial injustice. These included passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the “War on Poverty” (which inaugurated the food stamp and Head Start programs, among numerous others), and the creation of Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the needy. In this speech, given at Howard University, LBJ provided the rationale for another ambitious program, now known as “affirmative action.” In the speech, Johnson hearkens back to Adam Smith’s “classical liberal” metaphor of life as a race, but describes African Americans as hobbled by chains, both historical and contemporary, that prevented them from competing on an equal footing in that race without government action to address these impediments. Johnson’s speech is a clear example of the ideal of “positive freedom”—not just “freedom from” chains but “freedom to” achieve—the ideal at the heart of the “welfare liberal” vision.