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By acetim1080
On July 26, 2018

Lesson Plan: Great Debates in the US Congress

Persian Gulf: Support from D and R

Several representatives from both parties gregariously and at turns humorously support US involvement in the Persian Gulf War - '91.


In this lesson, students will work in groups in the jigsaw format to research moments where vigorous debate on the Congress floor played a large role in influencing the course of American History. Students will learn about key historical events including: the Persian Gulf War (1991), the Civil Rights Act (1964), Andrew Johnson's Impeachment (1867-68), the Treaty of Versailles / League of Nations (1919), and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (2010). Students will become experts on one of the five selected topics, and then participate in a presentation of learning to share their knowledge with their peers.


  • Introduction:

    Separate into groups of 3-5 students and assign or otherwise select one topic per student group.

    Topic List:

    • Persian Gulf War, 1991
    • Civil Rights Act, 1964
    • Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment, 1867-1868
    • Treaty of Versailles / League of Nations, 1919
    • The Affordable Care Act, 2010
  • Video Clips:

    Watch the relevant video clips for your assigned group using the topic library assembled below.

  • Persian Gulf War

    VIDEO CLIP: Persian Gulf: Support from Democrats and Republicans (4:05)

    VIDEO CLIP: Persian Gulf: Patricia Schroeder (1:24)

    VIDEO CLIP: Persian Gulf: Bernie Sanders (4:13)

  • Civil Rights Act

    VIDEO CLIP: Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act (2:55)

    VIDEO CLIP: Library of Congress 1964 Civil Rights Act Exhibit (7:08)

  • Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

    VIDEO CLIP: Andrew Johnson (4:11)

    VIDEO CLIP: The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson (3:27)

  • Treaty of Versailles / League of Nations

    VIDEO CLIP: The Signing of the Treaty of Versailles (2:59)

    VIDEO CLIP: Wilson's Involvement in the Treaty of Versailles (1:57)

  • The Affordable Care Act

    VIDEO CLIP: Affordable Care Act: Mike Pence Speaks Against (1:31)

    VIDEO CLIP: Affordable Care Act: For and Against (3:54)

  • Explorations:

    Each report will answer the following questions regarding the specific historical event:

    • What was the position of each political party in Congress and what were their differences?
    • How did citizens and special interest groups affect the decision of Congress?
    • What was the result of the debate, and how did it affect the future of American government and society?
  • Presentation of Learning:

    You will prepare a presentation for the class that meets the following expectations:

    • Quote(s)
    • Citation(s)
    • Image(s)
    • Opinions / Analysis
    • Discussion Questions
  • Extension Activities:

    Hold a class discussion or socratic seminar following the presentations of learning to any of the following questions:

    • Which law had the biggest impact on the future of the United States?
    • In which case did citizens or special interest groups play a large role in influencing Congress?
    • When was there compromise between the political parties?

Additional Resources


  • Debate
  • House Of Representatives
  • Impeachment
  • Senate
  • Treaty


Interest Groups & LobbyingLegislative BranchPolitical Parties


High School