This lesson explores the nature of each of the roles of the President, the ways his various roles overlap, the powers associated with each role, and the checks on those powers
Complete the left and middle columns of the handout, having students identify potential checks on the powers included in each role.
HANDOUT: Presidential Roles Overview (Google Doc)
Video Clip: Chief Executive (1:35) President Trump signs an executive order.
Video Clip: Chief Legislator (2:01) Excerpt from President Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union Address.
Video Clip: Commander in Chief (2:58) President Trump speaks at the 2017 U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement.
Video Clip: Chief Diplomat (1:26) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses a meeting with President Trump.
Video Clip: Head of State (4:36) President Obama offers a toast to the Italian Prime Minister at a state dinner.
Video Clip: Chief Jurist (1:32) President George W. Bush nominates John Roberts as Chief Justice.
Video Clip: Chief Administrator (1:33) President Trump announces plans for “very, very careful” spending by departments and agencies.
Video Clip: Head of Political Party (2:34) President Obama speaks at a 2010 midterm campaign rally.
Video Clip: Head of Political Party (1:11) President George W. Bush addresses attendees at a Republican Party fundraiser.
Video Clip: Chief Economist (1:04) President Obama nominates Janet Yellen to serve as Federal Reserve chair.
Have students complete the right column of the Presidential Roles Overview handout.
Watch the following video clip and discuss the ways in which the video is "unusual" by the standards of American social norms, and the impact on diplomacy of varying norms from nation to nation
Overlapping Roles Identification:
Have students identify the ways in which each of the below video clips demonstrates the President serving multiple roles simultaneously using the following handout (this can be done individually, as a jigsaw endeavor, or as a whole class):
HANDOUT: Presidential Roles Overlap Analysis handout (Google Doc)
Video Clip: President Trump signs an executive order and presents the pen to a supporter (0:53)
Video Clip: President Obama presents the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy 2015 (0:40)
Video Clip: President George H.W. Bush Addresses Congress, February 1989 (2:09)
Video Clip: President Biden at the 2021 Presidential Turkey Pardon Ceremony (4:20)
Video Clip: President Obama speaks at Yosemite National Park 2016 (3:26)
Extension Activity Options:
Concept Application Questions Free Response Question- Respond to this writing prompt (Google Doc) presented in the style of the Argumentative Question component of the redesigned AP Government and Politics exam.
Album Cover: Take an iconic album cover and reimagine the art and title to represent one the President fulfilling one or more of his roles. Include the names of at least five song titles (which can be from any artists or album; you aren’t confined to the titles on the original album you’re reimagining), reconfigured to relate to the President (a la “Empire Head of State of Mind” or “You’re Welcome...At My State of the Union Address”)
Presidential Playbill: You are in charge of producing a one-man show about the many roles of the Presidency. Give your show a title, then write the one-paragraph plot synopsis and scene list that might appear in the Playbill program of your show and write a 30-60 second opening monologue for your star.
Movie Credits Sequence: After a successful Broadway run, your one-man show gets optioned for a movie. Create a storyboard for the credits sequence as if it is going to be a school yearbook page with an individual credit and relevant picture for each role.