To provide an introductory overview of the unit, show the six-minute thematic documentary, Advice and Consent: The President as Chief Diplomat, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkUkbBYf6Aw.
A. Distribute Handout A: The President as Chief Diplomat and The United States Constitution.
B. Explain that while the phrase, “Chief Diplomat” never appears in the Constitution, several passages in Article II describing
the duties of the President effectively give him or her this role. According to one constitutional scholar, the President is “the sole representative of the country when dealing with foreign powers.”
C. Have students work in small groups to define each phrase and explain how it pertains to the role of a diplomat—a person designated to represent his or her country in official negotiations with other countries.
D. After allowing a few minutes for students to discuss in their groups, conduct a large group discussion to fill in the blanks on the chart.
International Relations and the Constitutional Separation of Powers
In 1787 the Constitution granted significant new powers to the central government, including those traditionally held by sovereign nations. In response to Anti-Federalist concerns about a too-powerful central government, James Madison explained that the new system of government was designed to work with human nature.