Presidential Politics Update: the 1970s

by Dennis Jenkins

On Thursday morning, our class wrote down how they would have voted if they were on the Supreme Court during the Nixon years concerning several topics that they had debated on Wednesday. Students then created posters for candidates over presidential campaigns that we studied this week. We next examined issues and events that shaped the presidency of Gerald Ford. Our class then contrasted commercials from Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter during the 1976 election watched two students from our class role-play the debate between Gerald Ford (Finn) and Jimmy Carter (Jonah).

Finn Shirley as Gerald Ford and Jonah Flueck as Jimmy Carter.

After lunch, we watched a short summary over last night’s Democratic primary debate among the ten candidates. Students then went to the computer lab to research each of the candidates’ backgrounds and positions in addition to two topics currently shaping presidential politics. When we returned from the computer lab, students contrasted historians’ rankings of Ford and Carter, watched a short documentary over the presidencies of Ford and Carter, and examined key events that shaped the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Before our class dismissed, we read about the background of a Supreme Court case that dealt with the death penalty during the 1970s.

During study hall, the students had a round-table discussion over Supreme Court decisions regarding the death penalty and affirmative action. Some of them also examined articles concerning presidential politics from different points of view and analyzed how a variety of news sources report political issues, while other students prepared for Friday’s debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Note: Teacher Dennis Jenkins will be posting updates on his course, Presidential Politics, throughout VAMPY.