Explore the role of third-party candidates and how the American political system makes it very difficult for anyone outside the Republican or Democratic Party to win the White House. Registration is required to view this resource.
This short video traces the crises of the 1760s (e.g., the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act) through to the relatively quiet early 1770s, culminating in the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Professor Jack Rakove emphasizes the role of individual in history. Governor Thomas Hutchinson forced a crisis—the Boston Tea Party–by insisting on strict enforcement of the Tea Act. He could have chosen a different tactic (as did other governors), but chose not to.
This short video examines the Boston Tea Party of 1773 as the critical event which transformed political discussion about British imperial authority into an active source of controversy. By the early 1770’s, British and Americans thought differently about the extent of Parliament’s power to legislate for the American colonies. Professor Jack Rakove notes that British punishment of Massachusetts for its defiance of the Tea Act precluded a peaceful resolution of the political controversy.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, the issue of slavery divided the Democratic Party and newly formed Republican Party. One of the most prominent Democrats was the U.S. Senator from Illinois Stephen Douglas. When he ran for re-election in 1858 against Republican Abraham Lincoln, the two men held a series of debates. In the activity, students read statements made by Douglas in the debates, discuss how Lincoln would respond, and create responses to each statement.
In this lesson, students will learn how state legislatures and governors can manipulate the redistricting process to gain an advantage for their party in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Students will learn what constitutes gerrymandering and the typical types of gerrymandering used. Students will role play state legislators and collaborate to draw both gerrymandered and not gerrymandered districts. Students will consider the foundational redistricting case Baker v. Carr (1962) and classify arguments made in the case. In addition, students will evaluate the proper role of the Supreme Court in state redistricting cases.
This unit begins by providing background information on the establishment of the thirteen colonies. Across 25 lessons, students learn about early alliances, the French and Indian War, and causes and provocations of the American Revolution. Students are introduced to major ideas in the Declaration of Independence and to key figures in the Revolution, as well as art and literature representative of the period.
Includes 25 lessons of roughly 45 minutes each.
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.
Throughout the twentieth century, blacks in Pennsylvania employed numerous strategies to achieve the civil rights they deserved. Their efforts for to receive their rights began with a strategy of New Deal liberalism in the 1940s and 50s headed by prominent black leaders. When attempts to rewrite the laws using the established political system failed, black leaders encouraged more direct action, like boycotts and sit-ins. The movement quickly took on a black nationalist approach. Philadelphia became the perfect place for several Black Power conferences and home of the short-lived, though active, Black Panther Party.