Dolley Madison and Politics

This short video analyzes both the practical and the psychological contributions made by Dolley Madison to the young republic. Practically, Dolley’s weekly receptions in the drawing room of the White House became the only public gathering place in Washington, DC for doing the real business of politics. Psychologically, Dolley became, in the words of Professor Catherine Allgor, a “Republican Queen”, whose charm and charisma made her a symbol of America during the War of 1812.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Local Politics: The Need for Compromise

This lesson examines the process of local decision making and its need for citizen input and compromise. Students simulate a local city/county council session and advise the council on public policy. Students are asked to consider the viewpoints of different citizen groups in order to reach a compromise that will benefit the entire community. This lesson can be used with a unit on local politics and can be adapted to reflect issues of compromise in your school or community.

  • Resource Type: Simulation
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Political Ideology in America: Bumper Sticker Politics

Americans love to personalize their vehicles in a way you will not see in many other countries. This lesson explores political ideology by analyzing data on automobile purchases and bumper stickers. Students will learn generalizations about conservatives, liberals, democrats, republicans, libertarians, socialists and appreciate the American custom of advertising political thought in public.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The American Founding: The Bill of Rights

This comprehensive, multimedia online exhibit features a trove of resources on the Bill of Rights. Part I contains the English, Colonial, State, and Continental origins of the Bill of Rights; Part II features the Federalist/Antifederalist Debate over the Bill of Rights; and Part III explains the politics of the Bill of Rights in the First Congress through its adoption.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Interactives, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

From Provocative to Productive: Teaching Controversial Topics

Get first steps for creating a respectful yet vibrant environment for students to explore diverse ideas on controversial topics, from politics to profanity, religion to racism. Four guidelines and a debate leader checklist provide a foundation for those seeking to steer productive conversations about controversial subjects.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

SCOTUS Comparison Cases for the AP Government and Politics Redesign

Street Law compiled this list of its case summaries that can be used as comparison cases to the 15 required cases in the redesigned AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum. Note that this is not an exhaustive list—it only includes comparison cases that exist in Street Law’s Free Resource Library.

  • Resource Type: ESL Appropriate, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Presenting Political Parties

Using the political cartoons of Clifford Berryman, this lesson, developed in collaboration with the National Archives, has students consider the impact of political parties on politics, government, lawmaking, and voters. The heavy focus here is on breaking down and interpreting some powerful primary sources to learn more about the role of political parties.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Women Participate in the Ratification Debate

This short video assesses the role of “female politicians”: women who were interested in discussing the ratification politics and processes. The most visible of these was Mercy Otis Warren who, writing as “a Columbian Patriot,” opposed many aspects of the Constitution as undermining liberty. Professor Rosemarie Zagarri notes that many women throughout the country were thinking, talking, and reading about the ratification debates.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Power of the Crowd

Political rallies: the scene of rousing speeches, cheering supporters and seas of signs and flags. These events are presidential campaign staples, but what do they offer the electorate?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12