Ken Burns Classroom

Evolution of the Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lesson Overview:

The two Roosevelt presidents expanded the powers of the executive branch as few other presidents before them had. Their administrations played key roles in the evolution of Americans’ relationship with their government and the role of the United States on the world stage. Both men operated on the belief that government could do anything not expressly prohibited in the Constitution, and consequently exercised their power in ways that transformed how subsequent presidents exercised theirs.

In this lesson, students examine the powers granted the presidency in Article II of the Constitution and how past presidents exercised this power in practice. They discover that the powers of the president are sometimes a matter of interpretation and circumstance. Students then examine the exercise of presidential power by Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt during their respective terms in office. In the final activity, students produce a documentary examining how one of the Roosevelt presidents exercised his power during a crucial time in history.

Lesson Objectives:

The student will:

  • Understand the powers granted to the president in the Constitution’s Article II and how these powers help fulfill the president’s duties.
  • Formulate supporting questions on what students know and don’t know about presidential power.
  • Analyze different interpretations of presidential power practiced by past presidents.
  • Formulate supporting questions to guide students in answering the compelling question “How much power should a president exercise?”
  • Analyze the extent to which both Roosevelt presidents exercised their power in domestic and international affairs and how they expanded presidential power beyond the traditional interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Produce a documentary exploring how one of the Roosevelt presidents exercised his power during an event during his presidency.

Estimated Time:

  • Part 1: one-half class period
  • Part 2: one class period
  • Video Viewing Activity: one class period or as homework
  • Documentary Production: two to three class periods (with homework)

Materials Needed:

  • Computers with Internet access for research
  • Video editing software (iMovie, Premier Elements, Movie Maker, etc.)

Lesson Procedure: Opening Activity

The opening is actually two activities with the option of conducting one or both. Students look at the powers of the executive branch from two different perspectives: the literal and the pragmatic. In both activities, students examine presidential authority as defined in Article II of the Constitution. In the first activity, students match this authority with the responsibilities of a president. In the second activity, students examine the different interpretations many presidents have practiced while addressing complex issues.

Opening Activity, Part 1:

  1. You can divide the class into think-pair-share groups or have students complete the first activity individually.
  2. Distribute the handout “Understanding the Powers of the President” and review the directions with students.
  3. Review Article II and its sections to make sure students understand the language of the article. Then have them review the “Roles and Responsibilities of the President” and identify where these responsibilities are enumerated in Article II, as per the instructions.
  4. When students have finished the activity, review their answers with the answer key.

Opening Activity, Part 2:

  1. If you haven’t done so, divide the class into small groups of two or three students.
  2. Distribute the handout “Interpreting the Powers of the President” to each student. Review the Background and the three interpretations of presidential power with students. Then review the directions.
  3. Provide time for the student groups to complete the “Presidential Action Chart.” If pressed for time, assign one or two chart entries per group. Then have students share their findings.
  4. When students have finished filling out the chart, review their answers with the answer key. Then lead students through the Compelling Question and Developing Supporting Questions section. These supporting questions will help students through the other activities.

Video Viewing Activity

  1. In this activity, students will work in small groups exploring how President Theodore Roosevelt and President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the presidential power of Article II. They will view key segments from The Roosevelts series and answer more supporting questions that provide insight into the power these presidents exercised during their presidencies.
  2. This activity can be assigned in class or as homework. If time is short, you can have half the class review the clips on Theodore Roosevelt and the other half review Franklin D. Roosevelt and then share their information.
  3. Form the class into small groups of two to three students.
  4. Distribute the Video Notes/Graphic Organizers on Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt to all students and review the instructions, making clear that students are to answer the discussion questions after they’ve taken notes on the graphic organizer. Point out the episode number and time codes on the handout if needed.
  5. Have student groups review the assigned video segments, answering the questions on the graphic organizers and reviewing the discussion questions as they complete each segment. If the video viewing activity was assigned as homework, have students spend time in class analyzing each of the discussion question segments in their small groups.
  6. After student groups have completed the video viewing graphic organizers, review the discussion questions with the entire class, calling on individual groups to respond.


Main Activity

  1. Students continue to pursue the Compelling Question. In this activity, students will produce a documentary on an event that occurred in either the Theodore Roosevelt or Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency. The documentary will feature either a foreign policy or domestic issue and examine how the president expanded the powers of his office. Students will research the event and formulate a video documentary. Teachers can decide whether to have students present their documentaries as a digital slide presentation, webpage, podcast, or video presentation. As an alternative, students can also produce a storyboard presentation of their documentary or write an essay including all the content elements listed in the handout.
  2. Organize the class into small groups (three to four students). Distribute the handout “Documenting Presidential Power” to all students and review.
  3. Display the list of events below on the front board or create a handout for students. Have each group select, or assign them, one topic for their presentation.
  4. Provide time for students to conduct their research on the event using the guide in the handout.
  5. Whether you have students produce the documentary as a video production, a website for blog, a slide presentation, or a traditional oral presentation, have them follow the guide on the student handout to compile their information.
  6. Provide time and opportunity for students to produce and present their documentaries.
  7. Have students peer-evaluate the presentations using the Documentary Presentation Evaluation Form.

Actions of President Theodore Roosevelt

  • TR challenges the Trusts: J.P. Morgan and the Northern Securities Company
  • The United Mine Workers in Pennsylvania threaten to strike for better working conditions in 1902. TR steps in to avoid a national crisis.
  • TR supports a Panamanian revolution against Colombia, which allows the United States to complete and control the Panama Canal.
  • Believing that the United States must police the Western Hemisphere, TR issues the Roosevelt Corollary.
  • TR helps settle the Japanese Russian War in 1904.
  • TR challenges the meat-packing industry when it threatens to block an inspection bill.
  • TR sets aside public land for preservation and invokes the Antiquities Act to protect some of the country’s most natural wonders.

Actions of President Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • FDR sets up the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the National Recovery Act to regulate the economy.
  • FDR proposes nominating additional Supreme Court justices more favorable to his New Deal policies.
  • In 1939, Germany invades Poland and Britain goes to war. FDR pushes for a revision in the Neutrality Acts to end the embargo on selling arms to belligerents by instituting the “Cash and Carry” policy.
  • In 1940, with war raging in Europe and a weak economy at home, FDR decides to run for an unprecedented third term for president.
  • Still declaring the United States neutral in the war, FDR initiates the Lend-Lease program to aid Britain and other allies in early 1941.
  • In 1941, FDR orders US war ships to escort British merchant ships carrying US aid with “shoot- on-sight” orders targeting German submarines.
  • In 1941, FDR meets with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and forms the Atlantic Charter.
  • Trying to erode Japan’s war effort in China, FDR orders an embargo on Japan of essential resources like oil and scrap iron.
  • During the early months of World War II, FDR orders all residents living on the west coast and ethnically associated with Japan to leave their homes and travel to internment centers in the nation’s inland regions. Nearly two-thirds of these people were American citizens.

Assessment Suggestions

  • At the conclusion of the project, the teacher should evaluate students on the following:
  • Active participation during discussions and activities.
  • Completion of graphic organizers from the Video Viewing Activity.
  • Evaluate students’ documentaries using a suitable rubric. An example rubric that can either be used “as is” or adapted for a particular class is included at the end of the lesson.


Extensions/Adaptations

Students can conduct the same analysis process on presidential power from the Main Activity on more contemporary events with the current or past presidents. Examples might be President Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War; President Ronald Reagan’s authorization of trading hostages for missiles; President George H.W. Bush ordering an invasion of Iraq; President Clinton’s use of NATO power in Kosovo; President George W. Bush’s authorization of surveillance upon American citizens; President Obama’s use of drone attacks upon American citizens alleged to be involved in terrorist activities.

Standards Common Core State Standards (http://www.corestandards.org/)

English Language Arts Standards 7-12

Reading – Informational Text: Craft and Structure

  • RI.7.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
  • RI.8.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • RI.9-10.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
  • RI.11-12.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.
  • RI.9-10.7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • RI.9-10.9: Analyze seminal US documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address; Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech; King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.
  • RI.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem
  • RI.11-12.9: Analyze 17th, 18th, and 19th century foundational US documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

English Language Arts Standards: History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH9-10.1: Cite specific evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH9-10.5: Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5: Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.

Writing

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
  • Speaking and Listening
  • CCSS.SL.11-12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11- 12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.SL.11-12.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to the purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
  • CCSS.SL.11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence, and to add interest.

Comprehension and Collaboration

  • CCSS.SL.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.SL.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
  • CCSS.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

About The Authors

Greg Timmons

Greg Timmons has been a social studies teacher for over 30 years. He has written lessons for several PBS productions including The NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and various Ken Burns’s productions including The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea Baseball, Prohibition and The Dust Bowl.” He resides in Montana and Washington state.

Handout: Documentary Production Rubric

Student Name _______________________________

CATEGORY

4

3

2

1

Effectiveness

Project includes all material needed to gain a comfortable understanding of the topic. It is a highly effective study guide.

Project includes most material needed to gain a comfortable understanding of the material but is lacking one or two key elements. It is an adequate study guide.

Project is missing more than two key elements. It would make an incomplete study guide.

Project is lacking several key elements and has inaccuracies that make it a poor study guide.

Content — Accuracy

All content throughout the presentation is accurate. There are no factual errors.

Most of the content is accurate, but there is one piece of information that might be inaccurate.

The content is generally accurate, but one piece of information is clearly flawed or inaccurate.

Content is typically confusing or contains more than one factual error.

Sequencing of Information

Information is organized in a clear, logical way. It is easy to anticipate the type of material that might be on the next card.

Most information is organized in a clear, logical way. One card or item of information seems out of place.

Some information is logically sequenced. An occasional card or item of information seems out of place.

There is no clear plan for the organization of information.

Spelling and Grammar

Presentation has no misspellings or grammatical errors.

Presentation has one or two misspellings but no grammatical errors.

Presentation has one or two grammatical errors but no misspellings.

Presentation has more than two grammatical and/or spelling errors.

Originality of Production

Presentation shows considerable originality and inventiveness. The content and ideas are presented in a unique and

interesting way.

Presentation shows some originality and inventiveness. The content and ideas are presented in an interesting way.

Presentation shows an attempt at originality and inventiveness on one or two cards.

Presentation is a rehash of other people’s ideas and/or graphics and shows very little attempt at original thought.

Cooperation with Group Members

Group delegates tasks and shares responsibility effectively all of the time.

Group delegates tasks and shares responsibility effectively most of the time.

Group delegates tasks and shares responsibility effectively some of the time.

Group often is not effective in delegating tasks and/or sharing responsibility.

Digital Camera Use (optional)

Picture is high quality. The main subject is in focus, centered, and of an appropriate size compared to other objects in the picture.

Picture is good quality. The main subject is not quite in focus, but is it is clear what the picture is about.

The pictures are of marginal quality. The subject is in focus, but it is not clear what the picture is about.

No picture taken OR picture of poor quality.

Handout: Understanding the Powers of the President

Directions: Review the clauses from Article II of the US Constitution. Then review the Roles and Responsibilities of the president. Identify where the president’s roles and responsibilities are enumerated in Article II as instructed in the Roles and Responsibilities section.

After the teacher has reviewed with the class where the president’s roles and responsibilities are enumerated in Article II, work in your small group to formulate supporting questions to the Compelling Question of “How much power should a president have?”

ARTICLE II

SECTION 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term…

SECTION 2: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law …

SECTION 3: He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient, he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Roles and Responsibilities of the President of the United States

Review the roles of the president below and identify where these responsibilities are enumerated in Article II.

  • Chief Executive: The President is the administrative head of the government. Duties include meeting with the cabinet, signing bills, issuing executive orders and appointing government officials. (Underline the sections that refer to the President as Chief Executive.)
  • Chief Diplomat: The President negotiates treaties with foreign governments. He also appoints ambassadors. (Circle the sections that refer to the President as Chief Diplomat.)
  • Chief of State: The President is the ceremonial head of the United States, speaking to the nation on topics of interest, meeting with important officials, and welcoming Heads of State from other countries. (Double underline the section that refers to the President as Chief of State.)
  • Commander‐in‐Chief of the Armed Forces: The President is the civilian head of the military and can order troops into battle or send them overseas. (Place in brackets [ and ] the section that refers to the President as the Commander‐in‐Chief)
  • Chief Legislator: The President recommends legislation to Congress. The President can also threaten to veto bills s/he opposes. (Place parentheses ( ) around the section that refers to the President as the Chief Legislator).

Handout: Interpreting the Powers of the President

Background: The Constitution specifies powers granted to the three branches of government— Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. In Article II, the powers of the Executive Branch are described. As the head of the Executive Branch, the president has many roles to play. How he or she performs these roles within the confines of Article II is often a matter of interpretation.

Directions: Below are three sections to study: Article II of the Constitution, interpretations of presidential power, and a chart of presidential actions. After reviewing and understanding the powers granted the president in Article II and the interpretations of presidential power, review each presidential action on the chart below and compare with the powers granted the president in Article II. Indicate with a X in the appropriate box whether you feel the president is interpreting Article II through a Textualist/Intentionalist, a Pragmatist, or a Natural Law understanding. Then explain your reasoning in the final column.

ARTICLE II

SECTION 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term…

SECTION 2: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;…

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law …

SECTION 3: He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient, he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Different Interpretation Models on the Power of the President

Background: Over the years, the powers of the President have been defined and redefined by the actions of various presidents and Congressional legislation expanding presidential power. From this, different interpretations of how presidents define power have emerged. Below are three interpretation models.

  • Textualist and Intentionalist interpretation: People who interpret presidents’ actions in this manner believe that the words of the framers were meant to be followed according to what is actually said in the Constitution and what the framers intended. Textualists and Intentionalists are skeptical of how judges and presidents have reinterpreted the “intent” of the founders to expand presidential power.
    • Pragmatist interpretation: People who believe the Constitution is more of a “living document” allowing for interpretation or exercising authority as the conditions demand.
    • Natural Law interpretation: A person who believes that higher moral law should supersede inconsistent statutory law and some limits to power in the Constitution. 1

The Compelling Question and Supporting Questions

TO BE CONDUCTED AFTER COMPLETING THE CHART

Work in a think‐pair‐share group and write questions to help you answer the question “How much power should a president have?” Questions can be focused on what you don’t know about the powers granted in Article II or more open‐ended asking what would it mean for the president to have too much or too little power?

Directions: Review the presidential actions then determine whether you think the action was a Textualist/Intentionalist, Pragmatic or Natural Law interpretation of the Constitution. Place an x in the proper column. Then explain your reasoning for your choice in the final column.

Presidential Action Textualist / Intentionalist interpretation Pragmatist interpretation Natural Law interpretation Explanation
1. During a war, steel workers threatened a nationwide strike which would have hurt the war effort. The president seized the nation’s steel mills and placed military personnel to run them.
2. The president suspends the writ of habeas corpus during an internal insurrection to stop anyone interfering with his efforts to quell the rebellion.
3. As the country emerges from a devastating economic depression and faces the possibility of going to war, the president decides to run for an unprecedented third term.
4. During the first months of a congressionally declared war, the president orders all residents living on the coast who were ethnically associated with the nation at war to leave their homes and travel to internment centers in the nation’s inland regions. Nearly two‐thirds of these people are American citizens.
5. The country has sunk into a deep economic depression causing businesses to fail, banks to close, and millions of people out of work. The president encourages voluntary action on the part of businesses and individuals to remedy the economic problems. As the depression grows deeper, the president encourages Congress to establish public works projects and provide loans to banks to shore up their reserves. The president rejects plans to have the federal government directly influence the economy by restricting production or ordering increased wages. He feel the federal government only has the authority to encourage economic development but not provide direct aid. In his view, this is the role of the states and the private sector.
6. With the goal of conserving the nation’s timberlands and with the support of the president, the forest service selectively grants permits to timber companies so that some forests were harvested and some are left to grow untouched. This doesn’t sit well with for‐profit timber companies and they complain to their Congressional representatives. Bowing to pressure, Congress attaches a rider to an agricultural appropriation bill limiting the president’s ability to set aside forest lands for preservation. The president has to sign the bill to support the farmers, but before he does, he authorizes millions of acres of forest land be placed into federal protection
7. After the Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools is unconstitutional, several Southern states try to resist integrating the schools. In one state, the governor orders the state’s National Guard to surround a high school to keep several African American students from entering the school. After numerous attempts at negotiation, the president orders the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to secure the entry of the black students into the high school.
8. Determined to implement his program for white settlement, the president persuades Congress to pass a law granting states the authority to unilaterally exchange open land in the west for Native American land in the East and relocate the Indians to the western lands. When the Supreme Court rules that the states don’t have this authority, the president encourages the states to ignore the decision.

Compelling Question and Developing Supporting Questions

In this activity, you identified where Article II grants the president the power to carry out his or her roles and responsibilities as chief executive of the United States. As presidents perform these duties, they sometimes have to issue orders without the permission of Congress, or interact with people of foreign countries that are hostile to the United States, or call out the armed forces to serve in combat when a declaration of war by Congress is inappropriate or impossible. When this happens, the question arises “How much power should a president have?”

Work in a small group and write questions to help you find the answers to the question “How much power should a president have?” Questions can be focused on what you know and don’t know about presidential power. Then think about more open ended questions the look at the “big picture” of presidential power.

  • What do you want to know about a president’s power?
  • What questions come up when you think about this?
  • What aspects are intriguing, important, or puzzling?

The questions you create should provide answers that are interesting to you and that you want to know. They should be found through research and not easy to answer. The questions can have multiple answers depending on the circumstances

 

Handout: Video Notes/Graphic Organizer

The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt

Instructions: View the three video segments and take notes on graphic organizer below. Links to the video clips are located on The Roosevelts web site (pbs.org/the‐roosevelts/for‐educators). Time cues are included if you are watching the clips from a DVD. After you’ve completed your notes in each segment, review the discussion questions that follow and be ready to discuss the questions with the class. You may wish to view the segments more than once in order to more completely answer the discussion questions and take notes on the segment.

Video Segment 1: “Trust Busting” (From Episode 2)

  • Intro: 11:25: “When Theodore Roosevelt became President, industrial production had never been higher ‐‐ or the profits greater.”
  • Exit: 17:15: [George Will, voice over] “The government must grow to reach up to where they were.”

1. Briefly describe the monopolistic trusts that were flourishing at the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt’s first term.

 

2. Compare and contrast the views of J.P. Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt towards the business trusts and the public.

Views of J.P. Morgan Views of Theodore Roosevelt
On Business Trusts

 

On Business Trusts

 

On the Public

 

On the Public

 

3. How did these trusts benefit the handful of men who dominated American finance and industry at this time?

 

4. Explain how the trusts were a financial burden to farmers, industrial workers, and consumers.

 

5. Explain how trusts stifled a free market economic environment for most Americans.

 

Video Segment 2: “United Mine Strike” (From Episode 2)

  • Intro: 21:39: [voice over] “Coal mining is] a business … not a religious, sentimental, or academic proposition…. “
  • Exit: 26:36: “…the first to threaten to employ federal troops to seize a strike‐bound industry. And it had all worked.”

6. Briefly summarize the circumstances surrounding the United Mine Workers union strike.

7. Describe the concerns President Roosevelt had about the coalminers’ strike and why he felt justified in intervening.

8. What actions did Roosevelt take to get the two sides to negotiate?

 

Discussion Questions

  • How would you characterize Theodore Roosevelt’s role as president compared to many of his 19th century predecessors?
  • Describe how Theodore Roosevelt would characterize American industrial trusts.
  • Explain what Roosevelt felt was needed to have the trusts play a more positive role in the American economy.
  • Explain how the threat of a strike by the United Mine Workers was a critical test in Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency.

Video Segment 3: “Speak Softly” (From Episode 2)

  • Intro: 30:35 [Theodore Roosevelt, voice over] “I have always been fond of the old West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick and you will go far.’”
  • Exit: 37:57: “Yes,” said a Senate critic, “and that man was Roosevelt.”

9. Summarize President Theodore Roosevelt’s view of the world and America’s role in it.

 

10. Explore the events that led to Panama’s independence and United States control of the Panama Canal

A. Explain the importance of a canal across the Central American isthmus to the United States.
B. Taking into account TR’s quest to advance civilization, explain why the Columbian Senate’s rejection of a deal to buy the rights to the Panama Canal enraged Roosevelt.
C. Upon hearing from the French lobbyist that a revolution was about to take place in Panama, Roosevelt lets it be known that the United States would do nothing to stop it, even though Panama was a lawful province of Columbia. Explain how this was interpreted as a “green light” to the rebels in Panama? How else did the United States military help ensure that the rebels’ victory?

11. Explain how Theodore Roosevelt justified his actions in the Panama Canal affair.

 

 

Discussion Questions

  • Review Theodore Roosevelts view of the world at the turn of the 19th century. Would such a view be acceptable to Americans today? Explain your answer.
  • Explain how Roosevelt’s initial lack of action in Panama allowed for great change to occur there.
  • Roosevelt was criticized for the role he played in the Panamanian affair. Discuss how do you think he would he have defended himself if he was accused of abusing the power granted him in Article II?

Video Segment 4: “TR’s Second Term Successes” (From Episode 2)

  • Intro: 1:18:02 [The Washington Post, voice over] “The Washington Post: It is now universally recognized by experienced politicians…”
  • Exit: 1:22:29: “We bought the son of a bitch,” one said, “but he wouldn’t stay bought.”

12. Summarize President Roosevelt’s philosophy regarding the government’s role in calling for a series of national solutions to national problems.

13. From what you’ve learned about trusts in the first video segment, describe how railroads operated in ways that benefited the railroad owners but burdened farmers, industrial workers and consumers.

Ways the railroad trusts benefited investors of the trust. Ways the railroad trusts were a financial burden to farmers, industrial workers and consumers.
 

 

 

 

14. Describe how the Hepburn Act limit the power of the railroad trusts and how it benefited the American public.

Provisions of the Hepburn Act How it benefited the American public
 

 

 

 

15. Describe how President Theodore Roosevelt pushed through the following legislative bills and rewrote the role of government in American life?

Describe the actions he took to get the bill passed. How do his actions change the role of government?
The Pure Food and Drug Act  

 

Meat inspection bill  

 

Discussion questions

  1. Summarize the positive and negative benefits of the railroad trusts.
  2. Describe what the Hepburn Act was and explain how it “leveled the playing field among the railroad companies and consumers.
  3. Describe how Theodore Roosevelt justified using his executive power in the Northern Securities trust case, the coal miners dispute with owners, the railroad trust pricing and confronting with the meat packing companies during the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
  4. Do you feel he was within his constitutional authority in each case? Explain.

The Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Instructions: View the three video segments following the steps in the lesson and take notes on graphic organizer below. Time cues are included if you are watching the clips from a DVD. After you’ve completed your notes in each segment, review the discussion questions that follow and be ready to discuss the questions with the class. You may wish to view the segments more than once in order to more completely answer the discussion questions and take notes on the segment.

Video Segment 1: “FDR Faces Great Crises” (From Episode 5)

  • Intro: 4:58: [George Will, voice over] “There’ve been three presidents who were larger than the office they inherited….”
  • Exit: 10:56 [John Meacham, voice over] “…how to get it done, how to let those angels actually have some authority and run things”

1. Historian George Will likens the presidency to a “soft leather glove” that “takes the shape of the hand that’s put into it.” What do you think he meant by this statement?

 

2. List FDR’s character and personality traits that made him well‐suited to take on two of the country’s greatest crises since the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II?

 

Video Segment 2: “FDR and the Press” (From Episode 5)

  • Intro: 17:13 “Roosevelt had had his entire cabinet sworn in at once, something that had never been done before….”
  • Exit: 19:25: [NEWSREEL of FDR in Headdress]: “Is it on straight?”

3. Explain his FDR used the press as a way of communicating effectively with the voters.

4. Compare and contrast how President Franklin Roosevelt’s relation with the media differed from past presidents.

Past Presidents FDR
 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe FDR’s personality and character. Explain how these characteristics might have helped him make bold and unprecedented decisions.
  2. How might the press have helped FDR exert his authority and help him carry out his initiatives?
  3. What were the potential costs and benefits of FDR’s close relationship with the press?

Video Segment 3: “FDR’s New Deal #1”

(From Episode 5) Intro: 19:25: [NEWSREEL of Second Fireside Chat]: “We are planning within a few days to ask the Congress for legislation…”

  • Exit: 25:33: [Voice over, George Will] “…It rang um tellingly reassuring to a lot of Americans at that point.”

5. Describe how the Congress gave power to the executive branch in the following areas:

Glass‐Steagall Act
AAA, the PWA and CCC
NRA

Discussion Questions

  • Describe how this legislation changed the role of the federal government in the nation’s economy?
  • Why do you think most people were grateful for the New Deal policies even though they gave so much authority to the federal government?

Video Segment 4: “FDR’s New Deal #2” (From Episode 5)

  • Intro: 55:40: “By the spring of 1935, the panic that had gripped America on Inauguration Day was over….”
  • Exit: 58:28: [George Will, voice over]: “…Roosevelt had bigger ideas.”

6. Describe what these three pieces of New Deal legislation did.

National Youth Administration
Rural Electrification Administration
Works Progress Administration

Discussion Question

  • In the clip, Roosevelt refers to critics who accuse his policies of being fascism, communism, or socialism because, in their opinion, they violated American orthodoxy which, in the words of George Will, held that the federal government existed to defend the shores, deliver the mails, protect rights and get out of the way. Do you feel FDR’s critics were right, that he had over extended the power of the federal government and was acting like a fascist dictator and maneuvering the United States to be more communistic or socialist, where the government controlled the economy?

Video Segment 5: “FDR and the Supreme Court” (From Episode 5)

  • Intro: 1:26:39 [H.W. Brands, voice over] “Roosevelt believed that his re‐election as president in 1936…” 
  • Exit: 1:30:46“…growing conservative congressional coalition that would make substantive new legislation far more difficult to pass.”

7. Compare and contrast FDR’s public reasoning for appointing new justices and his private strategy for the appointments?

FDR’s public reasoning FDR’s private strategy

8. Why do you think FDR felt the Congress and American people would go along with this plan?

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  • How would Roosevelt’s court packing plan have affected the separation of powers and checks and balances system?
  • Explain your reasoning on whether you feel such a proposal was in line with the powers of the Executive Branch.

Handout: Documenting Presidential Power

Producing a documentary is an excellent method for expressing your ideas and reporting on what you’ve learned. By documenting your research, you not only strengthen your understanding of a topic, event, or idea, but also help others understand what you know and educate them on the issues, events, and perspectives you are reporting.

Use the following guide to produce your documentary on the exercise of presidential power by either Theodore Roosevelt or Franklin Roosevelt. You might consider dividing up research and production duties among different members of the group to expedite the process.

Research Your Event

  1. Start your research by getting some basic understanding of the event. Use the 5 Ws and H research method (Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?) to develop questions and answers surrounding the event. Some of this information you might already know.
  2. Required content elements for the documentary. Some of this information will come from your research and some will come from using the tools in previous activities.
    • Describe the specific issues or actions that caused the president to take action.
    • Describe the action the president took and the reasons why.
    • Identify the power granted in Article II of the Constitution that the president took to address the event or explain how he might have gone beyond his Constitutional authority. (Examine Article II)
    • Identify and explain the Constitutional interpretation model the president followed in this action. How, if at all, did the president’s action expand the powers of the Executive Branch? (Examine the interpretation models on presidential power)
    • Explanation of the potential costs and benefits of the action before the president took it.
    • Explain the outcome of the president’s action and how different sources assess the president’s actions and success.
    • State whether you believe the president’s action was appropriate and within Constitutional boundaries and support your position with facts and sources.
  3. Use the sources listed below for your research and other sources you might find. If the actions of the president prove to be controversial, incorporate information that reflects all sides of the controversy.
  4. Document examples to support the information you gathered in step 2. Remember to record your sources for later identification. 

Producing the Documentary

Whether you produce your documentary as a video production, a website or blog, a slide presentation, or a traditional oral presentation, use the following guide to compile your information.

  • Use the story board below to organize the sequence of your documentary.
  • Present your information in creative ways incorporating maps, charts and graphs, pictures, political cartoons, and videos wherever appropriate.
  • Determine the delivery method for presenting the documentary—social media site, digital slide presentation, a webpage, podcast, or video documentary.

Resources:

Theodore Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Documentary Storyboard

Use the storyboard blocks below to map out the different aspects of your podcast. You may want to use additional copies of this sheet if needed.

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Handout: Documentary Presentation Evaluation Form

Directions: As you listen to the documentary presentations, listen closely to how well the presenters describe required elements of the documentary. Use the following evaluation form to make your assessment, complete the rating scale (One low and five high).

Presidential Power Documentary Title

Presenters provided a comprehensive account of the event and the actions the president took to address the event.

1    2    3    4     5

Presenters provided analysis on the Constitutional compliance of the president’s action and identified the Constitutional interpretative model followed.

1    2    3    4     5

Presenters provided detailed account of the costs and benefits of the president’s actions.

1    2    3    4     5

Presenters provided a detailed explanation of the outcome of the president’s actions with analysis of how different sources assessed the president’s actions and success..

1    2    3    4     5

Evaluate the presenters’ conclusions on the merits of the president’s actions with supporting details.

1    2    3    4     5