Historian Douglas Brinkley discusses the four Presidents who routinely rank in the top 4.
This lesson explores why five U.S. presidents were hated by groups of Americans, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. Students will explore materials from C-SPAN's Presidential Survey and engage in a choice board activity. The lesson culminates with students reflecting on how presidents have been criticized historically and in contemporary times and offers two extension activities.
This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.
You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handouts and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.
You can also save and share the following Google resources for students to use with this lesson.
Handout: Graphic Organizer (Google Doc).
Resource: Choice Board Activity (Google Slides).
In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.
Pose the following brainstorming questions to your students, have students record their responses in their graphic organizer, share the responses with a partner, and then with the class if they choose
Provide electronic access to this introductory article from C-SPAN to your students. Direct your students to answer the following questions on their graphic organizer:
Play this introductory video clip (3:00) for your students. Direct your students to answer the following questions on their graphic organizer:
Direct your students to their graphic organizers to view and define the vocabulary terms that will appear in the choice board activity in the chart in their graphic organizer handout. The vocabulary words are also listed to the right on this webpage. We recommend having your students define and present the terms in a jigsaw activity to save time. Depending on time and resources, you may consider having your students define and present the terms in a Frayer's Model activity, where each student takes one-to-two words. Students can then post their models around the room for reference throughout the lesson. Note: this is not an all-encompassing list of terms included in each video. We recommend you previewing the videos to determine any necessary additions/subtractions to this list for your specific students.
CHOICE BOARD APPLICATION ACTIVITY
Direct students to their choice board activities and indicate that they can self-select (or the teacher can assign) two different presidents to study. The presidents, related video clips, and questions included on the choice board can be found below.
After viewing the videos and answering the questions for three presidents, students should respond to the prompts on the final slide:
Clip #2: Why was Thomas Jefferson Despised? (7:02), As part of an American Historical Association virtual panel, Joanne B. Freeman (a Professor of History at Yale University) described why Thomas Jefferson was hated by some Americans.
Clip #3: Why was Abraham Lincoln Despised? (12:54), As part of an American Historical Association virtual panel, Manisha Sinha (a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut) described why Abraham Lincoln was hated by some Americans.
Clip #4: Why was Franklin D. Roosevelt Despised? (9:54), As part of an American Historical Association virtual panel, Matthew Sutton (a Professor of History at Washington State University) described why Franklin D. Roosevelt was hated by some Americans.
Clip #5: Why was Lyndon B. Johnson Despised? (11:33), As part of an American Historical Association virtual panel, Sharron Wilkins Conrad (a postdoctoral fellow at the Southern Methodist University's Center for Presidential History) described why Lyndon Johnson was hated by some Americans.
Clip #6: Why was Richard Nixon Despised? (8:25), As part of an American Historical Association virtual panel, Mark Atwood Lawrence (Director of the Johnson Presidential Library and Museum) described why Richard Nixon was hated by some Americans.
After your students are finished sharing their findings from their choice board activity with the class, direct them to complete the final culminating writing prompt: "Having now learned about why five different U.S. presidents were despised and who despised them, compare how presidents have been criticized historically and in contemporary times." Direct your students to use evidence from the video clips to support their response. You can also provide the related articles linked below to your students or allow students to conduct self-guided research to help them further support their arguments.
Have students share their responses, comparing their perspectives with their classmates'.
Option #1: Guide your students through C-SPAN Classroom's 2021 Tournament of President Bracketology Lesson. This lesson gives students an opportunity to evaluate the presidents using a "bracket style" competition. Students will examine individual leadership characteristics that are key to the success of the chief executive. There are many ways to adapt this lesson to fit your middle or high school classroom.
Option #2: Have your students research the opponents of another modern president. Direct your students to compare the opposing groups, arguments, and related actions with one of the presidents they studied in this lesson.