How the Law Regulates Who Votes

In this lesson, students will discuss what qualifications are necessary to vote. The activity presents a series of potential voters for a student council election, and asks that students either allow or prohibit each person from voting. After reflecting on their justifications, they will learn that states and the federal government have very few restrictions on voting. The instructor might then lead a discussion on the importance of voting to the democratic process

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

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

Evaluating Election Ads

In this activity, students examine some of the techniques political campaigns use in ads to persuade voters, including assertions of fact and appeal to emotion. Students evaluate these techniques over time by comparing and contrasting historic and contemporary political ads.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media
  • Subject: Media Literacy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Women Vote in New Jersey (1776-1807)

This short video focuses on late 18th century New Jersey—the only state which (temporarily) enfranchised (some) women. The 1776 New Jersey constitution granted voting rights to all property-owning inhabitants while the constitutions of 1790 and 1796 referred to voters as “he and she.” Professor Rosemarie Zagarri concludes that the political ideology of the American Revolution did have lasting implications for women, even though New Jersey rescinded their voting rights in 1807.

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

Decoding Elections: Getting Counted

Throughout U.S. history, Americans have silently stewed and actively protested that presidential elections are unfair and fixed against them. Do they have a point? In this lesson, students will understand why people are critical of the political process. They will discuss the topic: Do all voters have an equal voice in American democracy? Registration at NewseumED is required to view this resource.

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

Going for the Jugular

It happens sooner or later in every presidential race: attack ads drown out the promises of positive campaigns. Do these dark battles have any value?

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

Voting and Elections in Early America

Google Cultural Institute exhibit by Constitutional Rights Foundation & Barat Education Foundation’s Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. Long before the pilgrims landed, voting and elections were taking place in America. For example, the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, a powerful alliance of Native American tribes who inhabited territory west of the Colonies, had established a system of representative government sometime around 1500 that lasted until the Revolutionary War. Women played a prominent role in choosing its political leaders.

  • Resource Type: Interactives, Media, Photography, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12