Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the national government, headed by a single President. Article II outlines the method for electing the President, the scope of the President’s powers and duties, and the process of removing one from office. The President’s primary responsibility is to carry out the executive branch’s core function—namely, enforcing the nation’s laws. From the debates over how to structure the Presidency at the Constitutional Convention to modern debates over executive orders, this module will explore the important role of the President in our constitutional system.
George Washington and the Pursuit of Religious Freedom
George Washington and the Pursuit of Religious Freedom is based on a 15-minute film that covers religion in early America, the defeat of the British Empire, and the steps leading up to the passing of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Accompanying resources, such as an interactive map and an interactive timeline investigate the history of religion in early America, Washington’s interactions with various religious groups, and his role in securing religious freedom. Teacher resources include graphic organizers, vocabulary sheets, and additional information to guide inquiry.
Most Despised U.S. Presidents
This lesson explores why five U.S. presidents were hated by groups of Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. Students will explore materials from C-SPAN’s Presidential Survey and engage in a choice board activity. The lesson culminates with students reflecting on how presidents have been criticized historically and in contemporary times and offers two extension activities.
Choice Board: U.S. Presidents and the Press
Throughout history, U.S. presidents have carved out their relationships with the press. In this lesson, students will hear from author and historian Harold Holzer as he discusses how several presidents, from George Washington to Donald Trump, navigated their interactions with the media and implemented strategies to communicate with the press, some of which are still used today.
C-SPAN’s Guide to American Presidents
The American Presidents website is your guide to our nation’s presidents! Find biographies, video resources, and life facts that tell the stories of their lives and presidencies. All in one easy-to-browse website.
Activity: Flat George Washington
A cut-and-color activity sheet that encourages students to find George Washington in their school or community.
Importance of Health
Students will examine excerpts from different primary source documents to understand the importance that George Washington placed on being proactive about personal health. After the examination, students will create their own health diaries, like Washington.
The Presidents Featured Resource Site
On this site, you will find C-SPAN Classroom content for each of the 46 U.S. presidents. Resources include biographies from the newly developed C-SPAN’s Virtual Presidents Exhibit as well as C-SPAN Classroom content that explore the lives and legacies of these chief executives. Content for each president may include an infographic, Bell Ringers, lesson plans, and video clips.
Article II: The Executive Branch
Article II lays out the Executive Branch of the government, headed by the chief executive, also known as the president. The branch is responsible for enforcing the laws. The article outlines the requirements to be president, the election process, and the duties of the office. Learn all about Article II in the National Constitution Center’s learning module.
Presidential Inaugurations, Past and Present
Every four years, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, the newly-elected President of the United States is inaugurated. This event not only includes the president taking the oath of office, but also provides the opportunity for the new President to lay out the direction he hopes to take the country. By analyzing historic texts and visuals, students can find common themes as well as important differences when comparing different inaugurations.