Grade 6-8 An Energetic Executive

The purpose of this lesson is to assist student understanding of the expressed and implied powers of the president. By the conclusion of this lesson, students will understand the scope and purpose of these powers and be able to describe how they play out in real life. Students will also understand the importance of constitutional checks on presidential powers–examining the ways that a president could abuse his or her power should constitutional checks not exist.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

James Madison Lesson 2: The Second National Bank—Powers Not Specified in the Constitution

In this lesson, students examine the First and Second National Banks and whether or not such a bank’s powers are constitutional or unconstitutional.

How should the Constitution be applied to situations not specified in the text? How can balance be achieved between the power of the states and that of the federal government? How can a balance of power be achieved among the three branches of the federal government? In this lesson, Madison’s words will help students understand the constitutional issues involved in some controversies that arose during Madison’s presidency.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

James Madison Lesson 3: Raising an Army: Balancing the Power of the States and the Federal Government

Not everyone in the U.S. supported the War of 1812. What events during Madison’s presidency raised constitutional questions? What were the constitutional issues? Where did Madison stand?

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Quizzes, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

James Madison Lesson 4: Internal Improvements Balancing Act: Federal/State, Executive/Legislative

There was general agreement at the beginning of the 19th century that the U.S. would greatly benefit from some internal improvements of a national nature, such as a nationwide network of roads and canals. But how should the funds for such projects be raised? Who should be in control of the projects—that is, who should administer them?

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12