Presidential Elections

The purpose of this lesson is to have students learn about each presidential election and presidential terms. Students will understand how various events in history shaped campaigns. Why elections were won and lost. What accomplishments and disappointments each president experienced. Each election and presidential term served had its own mark on history. The presentation to the class is the order of the elections starting with Washington’s first election and proceeding forward. The lesson plan was created to engage students in the election process and create interest in the coming presidential election.
Constituting America’s 90 Day Study of The Intrigue of Presidential Elections and Their Constitutional Impact is a resource guide for students. This study supplies many of the important facts and figures of each presidential campaign. There are also intriguing facts, stories, and information about the person, campaign, time in office and after the presidency.

The Electoral College

Today, the American people vote for president and vice president on Election Day. But, technically speaking, these votes don’t directly determine the outcome of the election. These popular votes determine which electors will be appointed to the Electoral College, which is made up of 538 electors drawn from the states and the District of Columbia. Each state is granted a different number of electoral votes based on the size of its congressional delegation. The electors meet after the general election to cast their votes for president and vice president.

Election: The Road to the White House (Secondary)

During an election, civic energy reaches a fever pitch. The vote is one of the citizen’s most powerful tools, and advocating for a candidate, a set of ideas, or a platform is the right of every citizen. The President of the United States is often called the most powerful person in the world, so with every presidential election, the stakes are high. This unit is designed to teach students about presidential elections. It is not a collection of facts, diagrams, and explanations of processes. It is an interactive, project-based unit that invites the student to fully engage in the process of an election while also informing students about how elections work. It is our hope that this unit helps cultivate the sorts of informed and engaged citizens that are so essential to our democracy.

Bush v. Gore (2000)

This lesson looks at Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 election. First, students read about and discuss the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore. Then in small groups, students role play Supreme Court justices and apply Bush v. Gore to hypothetical election cases.

Grades 9-12
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Lesson Plans

Election 2020: Politics, Covid-19 and the Economy

The state of the economy during the presidential election season has a significant impact on not just the approval rating of the incumbent president at the time, but also has an impact on the policies in which presidential candidates run on. Additionally, the state of the economy also influences who will come out to vote in that year. This year, 2020, it is just one of many factors that may affect voter turnout but the economy may be underestimated. This exercise will encourage students to evaluate how other fluctuations in the economy may affect the ratings, policies, and decisions of the 2020 presidential candidates.

The Troubled Elections of 1796 and 1800

George Washington won the first two U.S. presidential elections without being challenged. When he decided not to run for a third term in 1796, intense rivalries, political disputes, and attempted manipulations of the Electoral College came into play. These factors would again affect the 1800 election, essentially a rematch of 1796, pitting a sitting president, John Adams, against his own vice president, Thomas Jefferson.

Grades 8, 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Lesson Plans

The Constitution in Action – Political Parties and Presidential Electors: The Election of 1800

History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. This simulation places students in the Early Republic and asks them to engage in the politics of those times. Acting as either Federalists or Republicans, they will be asked to develop strategies for electing their party’s standard bearer as president, using the Constitution’s complex system of presidential electors to their advantage.