The President’s Inaugural Address Activity

On Monday, January 21, 2013, the public inauguration of President Barack Obama was held in front of the United States Capitol.  President Obama promised many changes and improvements during his address, but does the Executive Branch have the constitutional power to enact these promises? Have your students decide!

1. Break students into groups of four to six, and ask them to divide the inaugural address into small sections.

President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address, Washington Post

2. Each student in the group should read a small section of the address.  Have them focus on locating and highlighting the areas in which the president makes a promise or an “I will” statement.

3. Each student should then read Article II of the Constitution and determine whether the promises or statements the president made are within the Executive Branch’s constitutional powers.

4. As a whole group, discuss some of the examples of promises made in the address and the constitutional powers of the Executive Branch. Discuss what conclusions students made after reading the speech.

This activity was adapted from Kathy Landrum’s A.P. Government class at South County High School, Fairfax County Public Schools in Lorton, Virginia.

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