Who Elects Our Senators

United States senators have been elected directly by voters since 1913. Prior to that time, state legislatures chose the state’s senators. In the mid-1850s, however, the state legislature selection process began to fail due to political infighting and corruption. Often Senate seats were left vacant for long periods of time while state legislatures debated who to send to the Senate.

The 19th Amendment: Part 2 Podcast

The Nineteenth Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1878. It took over four decades of pleas, protests, petitions and speeches to finally get it ratified. We’re told that the Nineteenth granted all women the right to vote in America — but this was not the case in practice. How did the divides in the suffrage movement define the fight for women’s enfranchisement? And how did that amendment finally get passed? With a stern note from someone’s mom.
Our guests are once again historians Martha Jones of John Hopkins University, Laura Free of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Lisa Tetrault of Carnegie Mellon University.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Audio

19th Amendment: Part 1 Podcast

The prominent figures and events of the women’s suffrage movement of the 19th and 20th centuries can feel almost mythical at times. That’s in part because they are, in fact, myths. The telling of the Nineteenth Amendment tends to stretch from a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 to the amendment’s ratification in 1920, but the true story is a much longer one. We explore the myths and unveil the realities in part one of two episodes on the Nineteenth Amendment. Our guests are historians Martha Jones of John Hopkins University, Laura Free of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Lisa Tetrault of Carnegie Mellon University.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

The Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments

The Seneca Falls Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 to July 20, 1848, was the first women’s rights convention held in the United States. At that convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was written that outlined demands for women’s equality. This lesson uses video clips to have students understand the important people and events that led to the Declaration of Sentiments and then apply the text of the Declaration to today. This lesson uses video clips to have students understand the important people and events that led to the Declaration of Sentiments and then apply the text of the Declaration to today.

Grades 7-12
History
Interactives

Voting Rights

The right of a citizen to vote is not directly protected in the Constitution, and throughout our history that right has often been granted to some, but denied to others. However, through various amendments to the Constitution, the right to vote has become more and more inclusive. Uncover the battle for voting rights in the National Constitution Center’s learning module.

Civil Rights

While the Reconstruction Amendments were an important step in ensuring equal rights for all people, regardless of race, racial injustices throughout the United States continued into the late 19th and 20th centuries, leading to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the passages of Supreme Court decisions and legislation, including Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Visit the National Constitution Center’s learning module to learn more about the freedom struggle and civil rights.

The Electoral College

Today, the American people vote for president and vice president on Election Day. But, technically speaking, these votes don’t directly determine the outcome of the election. These popular votes determine which electors will be appointed to the Electoral College, which is made up of 538 electors drawn from the states and the District of Columbia. Each state is granted a different number of electoral votes based on the size of its congressional delegation. The electors meet after the general election to cast their votes for president and vice president.