Students act out legal roles in Presidential Politics

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Yesterday morning students shared what they learned in study hall and we discussed the legacy of several major decisions that presidents have made during the last 200 years. Students then picked a president of their choice to research and share what they learned about their administration. We then analyzed the controversy behind the 1824 presidential election.

During the second part of our morning session we analyzed how the presidency of John Quincy Adams led to conflict with the supporters of Andrew Jackson. We watched a short clip contrasting the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections. Students then responded to two thought provokers regarding the relevance of the Electoral College in 1824 vs. today and negative campaigning as seen in 1828 compared to today’s politics. We watched a short 5-minute clip over the 1960 presidential election and the significance that televised debates had during that election.

After lunch, students debated how important having good character and moral authority is when running for president. Students watched a clip over the 1968 election and the controversy that occurred outside the convention hall at the Democratic National Convention. Students then read a handout over how our country was divided during the 1968 election. We then shifted gears and researched a court case during Richard Nixon’s first year, Gregory v. Chicago, that dealt with the rights of peaceful protesters.

Students came back from their afternoon break and role-played Gregory v. Chicago. They took on the roles of witnesses, attorneys, and Supreme Court judges. Several students did a great job in their role as the prosecuting and defense attorney. Some of them definitely have a future in the field of law!

We then watched a short clip over the inauguration of Nixon in 1969 and the anti-Vietnam War protests that occurred later that year. Students then read a handout over Nixon’s policies regarding the Vietnam War. We ended class with students responding to a thought provoker about why having strong crisis leadership skills and good international relations is important in a presidency.

Last night during study hall, students researched two court cases that occurred during the first term of Nixon’s presidency concerning censorship and the rights of religious groups.