Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908-January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the thirty-sixth President of the United States, serving from 1963-1969. A Democrat, Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President Kennedy, and after completing Kennedy's term was elected President in his own right in a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included civil rights laws, Medicare (health care for the elderly), Medicaid (health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Simultaneously, he escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War, from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 in early 1968. Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas from 1937-1949 and as United States Senator from 1949-1960, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader.