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The Great Society and Beyond

Fifth Amendment,property,Constitution,Fourteenth Amendment,Great Depression

The Great Society and Beyond Activty: Exploring Civil and Economic Liberty

Have students read Handout A: Exploring Civil and Economic Liberty Essay and answer the questions. Hold a small group or class discussion about why both civil and economic liberties are important and how they are protected in our Founding documents.

The Great Society and Beyond Activty: Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010) DBQ

Have students read Handout B: Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010) Background and answer the questions. Discuss the answers to the questions as a class.

Divide the class into five groups and assign each group to analyze their assigned documents from Handout C: Documents: Group 1: Documents A, B, and C; Group 2: Documents D, E, and L; Group 3: Documents F, G, and H; Group 4: Document I (Majority Opinion), and Group 5: Documents J and K (additional opinions). Each group should designate a spokesperson.

Have Groups 1, 2, and 3 report, summarizing their discussion. At this point, have students identify which aspects of the documents presented so far would be most helpful to each of the two attorneys arguing the case. For now, Groups 4 and 5 are merely observers, not participants.

Have students in Groups 1, 2, and 3 tell whether they think the BCRA was constitutional, and to provide their reasoning based on constitutional principles. Take a vote and write the results on the board. Who would have won this case if these students were the Supreme Court?

Next, have Groups 4 and 5 report the actual Supreme Court opinions. Which constitutional principles seem to have been most persuasive to the Supreme Court Justices?

Have students use the key question, “Assess whether the Supreme Court ruled correctly in Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010), in light of constitutional principles including republican government, property rights, and freedom of speech”, to complete a document based question essay using the documents provided.

The Great Society and Beyond Activity: Comparing Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan

Divide the class into pairs. Give each pair one copy each of Handout D: “The Great Society,” Lyndon Johnson, 1964 and Handout E: First Inaugural Address, Ronald Reagan, 1981. Allow students time to read the speeches. Give each pair two highlighters of different colors. They should highlight sentences where the speaker suggests increasing federal power in one color, and sentences where the speaker suggests scaling back federal power in the other color. Have students look at the speeches side by side when they have finished. What do they notice?

Using Handout D, have students skim the Johnson speech and underline words or phrases they think are important. In the margins, write down words that come to mind to describe the speech. For example, hopeful, inspiring, etc. Have students repeat this process for the Reagan speech on Handout E. Divide the chalkboard (or presentation technology) in half, and assign one half to each speech.Beginning with the Johnson speech, invite a student to write one word or short phrase on the board that in some way represents the speech—an oft-repeated word, the mood of the speech, etc. The word should be written in a size proportional to the intensity of the connection to the speech. For example, if an idea appears ten times in the speech, it should be written larger on the board than a word which only appeared once. Invite four or five more students to add words/phrases. Repeat this process for the Reagan speech.

Distribute copies of Handout F: Articles I and II of the United States Constitution. Ask students to look at Articles I and II, describing the powers of the legislative and executive branches. Ask students to assess the constitutionality of each President’s actions. Where did the constitutional authority for their actions come from (if anywhere)?