This collection of primary source documents is intended to help readers identify and think about some of the key ideas and issues surrounding the U.S. Presidential election of 1912. The 1912 election was a significant event in American history for a number of reasons, representing the high-water mark of the so-called Progressive Era in American electoral politics. This pivotal moment is explained by Jason Jividen in his opening essay, in which he establishes the situation leading into the election year, contextualizes the ideas and personalities in play and conflict, and explains what happened. The exhibit also includes key facts and statistics from the election itself, including an electoral map, and vote counts and popular vote shares in each state. We also included important demographic statistics to help the reader understand the differences and similarities between America then and now.
The United States charges nearly 8,000 people with being good at relationships. These are our diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers. These are the people who make us look good, make sure the world gives us what we want and need and try to keep tensions at a minimum. To try to understand how this nuanced job actually works, we speak with Alison Mann, Public Historian at the National Museum of American Diplomacy and Naima Green-Riley, soon-to-be professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton and former diplomat.
If you want to learn about economic sanctions, which are the most common of the president’s emergency powers, and one non-conflict way to exert pressure on a foreign power, check out our episode on emergency powers. You’ll also learn about certain military powers the president has under an emergency declaration. Emergency powers are designed for when plans need to change, and fast, by allowing the president to override certain Constitutional provisions in a time of crisis. But in the last century, national emergencies have gone from a rarity to a tool that presidents use dozens of times while in office. We talk about what a president can (and cannot) do during a state of emergency, and how Congress has tried to put checks on that power, with help from Kim Lane Scheppele, author of Law in a Time of Emergency.
Step inside the White House Situation Room, as you take on the role of president of the United States and make foreign policy decisions with the support of your National Security Council. In Convene the Council, you will address international crises through strategic action, engage with members of your National Security Council, weigh the pros and cons of various policy options, delegate action to appropriate government agencies and departments, and work to improve core metrics of U.S. prosperity, values, security, and world health.
Help keep your students informed about the Ukraine conflict with this collection of videos. Then have your students reflect on each video clip they watch with our Primary Source Current Event Video Analysis Handout.
This four-minute video provides students with an introduction to the election of 1912 and the emergence of the progressive Bull Moose party, named for Theodore Roosevelt’s saying after an assassination attempt that he was “fit as a bull moose” to become president again. Focusing on Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to challenge President William Taft for the 1912 Republican Party nomination, the video shows students how the newly created system of direct primaries affected the race, and how Roosevelt’s failure to wrest the nomination from Taft resulted in the formation of the short-lived Bull Moose party. The video is useful for lessons focused on the election of 1912, or for lessons focused on the political reforms of the progressive era.
This four-minute video explores the causes and consequences of the Democratic Party’s division into two parties following the Democratic national convention of 1860. After rejecting Stephen A. Douglas’s failed attempt to reconcile the Northern and Southern factions of the party with his doctrine of “popular sovereignty,” the Southern delegates walked out of the convention. That decision led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and 50 years of Republican dominance in national politics. A concise summary of the unusual events that allowed Abraham Lincoln to win the election of 1860, the video fits into any sequence of lessons on the factors leading to secession and the Civil War.
This 6-minute video explores how the Cold War was an ideological, and sometimes military, struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. In general, the Soviet Union supported the expansion of communist governments around the globe, and the United States supported anti-communist regimes, including both democracies and dictatorships. By the 1950s, these tensions were seen in Latin America, and revolutions, coups, and uprisings became commonplace throughout most of the latter half of the twentieth century.
This 12-minute video is useful for any lesson that introduces students to the Watergate scandal, and any lesson focused on the constitutional and political challenges that complicate the regulation of campaign contributions. After clarifying the connection between the Watergate break-in and subsequent campaign finance scandal, the video documents how campaign finance regulations created in the wake of Watergate would eventually be manipulated by donors seeking to convert money into political influence. The video helps students make the connection between the history of Watergate and current controversies surrounding campaign finance, and to see how, after decades of attempted reforms, the United States is once again experiencing the same unregulated flow of campaign cash that helped give rise to the issues in the 1970s.
This 12-minute video clarifies the connections between the New York Times Co. v. United States Supreme Court case and the recent battles that Presidents Obama and Trump have fought to contain national security leaks. Focusing on the broader issues of freedom of the press in a democracy, the video helps students draw a line between the New York Times decision from 1971 and the ongoing disputes between the public’s right to know and the president’s right to secrecy. Useful for examining the First Amendment and the role of the press in a democratic society, the video also provides students with the historical context surrounding the Pentagon Papers, and the Vietnam War and consequences of the New York Times court decision.