After giving notes on the presidency, I wanted to really show students how it works in action today and historically. Here are a few ways I did so. I also discuss the American Presidency in another post. I used a block day and a day for these in total. If you are curious about my schedule, check this out.
Checks on the Presidency:
When looking at my binder and topic 2.5 I wanted to make sure I showed Supreme Revenge because it talks about the failed appointment of Robert Bork and how it changed the nomination process.
Supreme Revenge: this is an excellent look at the Senate’s role in confirmation hearings and how it’s changed since Robert Bork. *Warning- this does look at Anita Hill’s testimony as well as Dr. Blasey-Ford. It is graphic. Please watch this before you decide to show it in class. (CON-4.B.2)
This led to a great conversation about the role of factions in government, how much power the Senate can have, and the best question, ¨Can they do that?¨ It also introduces students to interest groups (Federalist Society), talks about Congressional leadership, committee work, and how a divided government causes gridlock. I often stopped the documentary to show key players throughout the discussed period (Bork´s nomination to Kavanaugh) that include current presidential nominees.
Expansion of Presidential Power:
After reading Federalist 70, we also dig into the War Powers Act and Nixon’s Veto. In order to prepare for a Socratic discussion (or a make-up argumentative essay) I asked students to find another time in history that a president interpreted or justified their formal or informal powers. Because of how we studied, my essay prompt deviates from the traditional structure because I require them to use 4 pieces of evidence in discussing the presidency, including how the Framers saw the president´s role, what the Constitution says, how the War Powers Act (and Nixon´s veto) looks at that role in war time, and contextualizing interpretation or justification of powers to another time in history.
Below is the prompt:
Using your documents, write an argumentative essay on the following prompt:
Develop an argument that analyzes the constitutionality of the War Powers Act.
Use at least one piece of evidence from each of the following documents:
● Federalist 70
● War Powers Act
● An additional piece of evidence from a document you researched from another
time in history that a president
- Respond to the prompt with defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of
- Support your claim with evidence and reasoning to explain why the evidence supports your claim or thesis.
- Respond to an opposing or alternate perspective using refutation, concession or
*You will be graded using the AP Argumentative Essay Rubric
There are so many ways to teach the presidency with the new curriculum! What are your favorite resources?