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60 min

Guiding Questions

  • How do special interests impact voting?
  • To what extent do ordinary citizens have power in American government through voting?


  • Understand “factions” as defined by James Madison.
  • Recognize the influence of special interests in American government.
  • Compare and contrast the influence of special interests versus that of voters.

Student Handouts

  • Handout A: Federalist No. 10, by James Madison (1787)
  • Handout B: “The Bosses of the Senate”
  • Handout C: “Another Dam Breaks”

Educator Resources

  • Handouts A-C Answer Key

  • consent of the governed
  • tyranny
  • republic
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Alexis de Tocqueville
  • federalism
  • democracy
  • Constitution
  • Founders

Have students read the essay, Voting.

Discuss the prework reading and videos. Teacher should ask probing questions such as: What are the arguments for and against voting? Explain the connection-or disconnection-between interests and voting.

Students read Handouts A, B and C and answer the critical thinking questions. Teacher should facilitate discussion of students’ responses and ask follow up questions as appropriate.

Students respond to the following: Imagine you are explaining voting to a new American citizen. Explain to them the importance of voting even when it feels like it does not make a difference.

Students should complete an internet search and find an additional cartoon that is related to voting. Students should create three guiding questions to accompany their cartoon that would assist another student in analyzing the cartoon.

Students should research the primary laws in their states surrounding registering to vote and voting. Students should then propose new laws that add to or subtract from the current laws and rationales for the new laws.

Student Handouts

Next Lesson

Civil Discourse and Petitioning

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