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Handout B: America’s Great Debates

America’s Great Debates

Directions: History is never an inevitable series of events. The events of history were the product of the history our ancestors made, but by no means were they always correct or always inevitable. You have the opportunity to remake history. You and your classmates have been called upon to be members of Congress. You must reopen a debate from the past and decide what you think is the best choice for the future of the country.

You and your classmates must decide what topic you want to debate. The class will vote to determine which topic will be debated. Review the topics below and decide which topic your class debate will address. You may add topics of your own if they are not listed. Feel free to advocate for the topic you think best!

a. War of 1812
b. The National Bank
c. The Second National Bank
d. The Tariff of Abominations
e. Nullification
f. Missouri Compromise
g. Kansas-Nebraska Act
h. Mexican-American War

Once the majority decides on the topic, you will draw to see if you have been elected to support the measure at hand or oppose it and which party you belong to. Remember, you’re the elected representative of your district, but you are not required to listen to your constituents. You are free to act as you see best, however, there may be electoral consequences.

Research the topic. Make sure you know the ins and outs of your position and the position of the opposition. Remember, if you oppose the topic at hand, you need to offer alternatives!

Day of the Debate

  1. The party in the majority must first elect a speaker. The speaker will be in charge of regulating the debate, so choose wisely.
  2. Let the debate commence! The speaker must ensure that each side has equal time on the floor.
  3. The winning side is whomever has a majority of votes at the end of the class period.