Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973), was the 36th President of the United States, succeeding to the presidency following President Kennedy's assassination. As President, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed most forms of racial segregation, and the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the first time. He appointed Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American appointed to the U.S. Surpreme Court. Meanwhile, he escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave him the exclusive right to use military force without consulting the Senate, was based on a false pretext, as Johnson later admitted. By 1968, over 550,000 American soldiers were in Vietnam; during 1967 and 1968 they were being killed at the rate of 1,000 a month. Over a million people were killed in the Vietnam War.