Who Was Lyndon B. Johnson?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11346

One minute you're the vice president, then, without notice, you're president during a time of tragedy and upheaval! Learn how Lyndon B. Johnson coped with that situation, and how he changed the U.S.!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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As a Senate minority leader, Johnson suffered a heart attack and almost died. This was a huge wake-up call for the 49-year-old, and he took his health very seriously afterwards. He quit smoking, lost weight, and delegated some responsibilities to lessen the stress in his life.

He almost wasn't the 36th president of the United States! Find out what he contributed to the country and what legacy he left behind.

Lyndon B. Johnson was the only president (as of 2016) to be sworn in while in an airplane.

His oath was taken on Air Force One before it took off to leave Dallas. He took over the presidency from his predecessor after Kennedy was shot and killed in a parade. Johnson was thrown into the position of president only one hour and thirty-eight minutes after President Kennedy was pronounced dead. He was the eighth vice president to take office after a sitting president passed away in office. As vice president under the administration of a man who was thought of as a hero and a revitalizing figure for the American people, how do you think Johnson felt as he took over the presidency?

  1. Pretend you are Lyndon B. Johnson and you found out that two hours ago the president died and you are now the president of the United States.
  2. Write a journal entry that expresses your thoughts, feelings, and fears of taking over this position.
  3. Remember that at this point, the killer had been captured but no one knew if there were others on the loose.
  4. Share your journal with your teacher or parent. Try to sell your journal entry as if you are President Johnson (get your teacher or parent to "buy" that you are President Johnson!). This is your chance to work on your acting skills!

Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished a lot in his time as president. He worked very hard to create a nation where all people had the same rights. Remember, this was a time when segregation was still an issue and black people were not treated like white people. Civil rights were an extremely hot topic and caused a lot of conflict in the United States.

While you take a look at the video and read the article listed below, create a list of at least five facts about Johnson and the difference he made in America. Consider how he led the country during a difficult time in history when a beloved president was shot and killed.

Watch this Lyndon B. Johnson video from the American Presidents Series, then read the article, 10 Things You Might Not Know About Lyndon B. Johnson, from the History Channel.

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So much legislation — so little time! Lyndon B. Johnson passed more legislation than most presidents in history. He was very adamant about helping poor Americans and people of every race and color. His morals influenced his presidential term and how he managed the presidency.

Check your facts with the ones in the next section and be prepared to use these facts for an activity.

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