Students Learn Lessons from Dallas

Posted at: 11/22/2013 7:32 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It was 50 years ago today America lost some of its innocence.

In a motorcade in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy fell to an assassins bullet.

This weeks, high school students were learning lessons from Dallas.

"This amendment is really only there because of what happened in Dallas 50 years ago" teacher Jeff Anderson told his government class at Austin High School./

The 25th amendment to the US Constitution was adopted on February 23rd, 1967. But you can trace its origins to that fateful day in Dallas.

"The main reason for the 25th amendment was fear" Anderson told his 12th grade students.

The 25th amendment lays out the details of presidential succession, because the constitution never spelled out how a vice president would become president if a president died, resigned or was unable to perform the duties of the office.

"It just said the vice president would become president, that's all it said” Anderson explained. “But it didn't say how or if it had to happen right away or if it happened automatically."

And it's important to remember the *time frame* -- it was the 1960s, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were running high.

"The Cuban missile crisis ... he possibly saved America, launch that missile, it would have been serious trouble with the Russians" high school senior Andrew Hagan said.

"If the Soviet Union had launched a nuclear attack against the United States in those couple of hours between time, who's calling the shots for the United States?" teacher Jeff Anderson asked his students.

Vice president Lyndon Johnson didn't take the oath of office until about two hours after John F. Kennedy died.

"And the fear was if we don't have a clear path to the presidency, that we leave ourselves vulnerable" Jeff Anderson explained.

On February 10th, Minnesota and Nevada ratified the 25th amendment. They became the 37th and 38th states to do so ... the required number for adoption.

"I think it changed American culture” government teacher Jeff Anderson told us. “It kind of took away a little bit of American innocence when Kennedy was assassinated."