ActivityCurriculum Worksheet Template - Download Now DOC
Shared by: div18514
Road to the White House Background information: The Vice President of the United States is the second-highest ranking official in the U.S. government. The President and vice president are the only nationally elected officials. If the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the vice president succeeds him. In addition, the vice president may serve temporarily as acting president if the president, for whatever reason, is unable to discharge the duties of the office. Like the president, the vice president must be at least 35 years old. The Constitution of the United States prescribes only one duty for the vice president. He is the president, or presiding officer, of the U.S. Senate, and if a Senate vote ends in a tie the vice president may vote to break the tie. The vice president has been assigned other duties by statute, and the president may give him other responsibilities. The importance of the vice president derives almost entirely from the fact that at any moment he may succeed to the most powerful office in the world. Would it surprise you to know that when President William Harrison died in office no one knew for sure what role the vice president was supposed to play? George Washington established many precedents for the office of president— how we should address the president, how many terms a president should serve—but it wasn't until our tenth president, John Tyler, that a precedent was established that would dictate what would happen if a president died in office. Tyler's presidency was characterized by a lack of support by the party that elected him to office. Harry Truman was sworn into the office of Vice President on January 20, 1945. He had been in office only 3 months when President Roosevelt died and Mr. Truman became President (April 12, 1945). Lesson Description The lesson will examine the role of the Vice President in the US political system. Students will create a list of characteristics they believe a political party should consider when selecting the running mate for a presidential candidate. In the second part of the lesson the students will focus on a variety of vice presidents who became president and how the nation and their own political parties dealt with these presidents. Objectives: Students will be able to: 1. Define the role of the Vice President 2. Compare a variety of Vice President’s in US History Vocabulary: Succession – The sequence in which one person after another succeeds to a title. Example: The Vice President succeeds to the Presidency in the event of the death of the President. Impeachment – Charge with misconduct in office before a tribunal. Inauguration – Formal induction into an office. Time required: Two 45 minute classes Materials: Access to web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ What Should a Good Vice President Look Like? 1. Have each student brainstorm a list of characteristics they believe a political party should consider when selecting the running mate for a presidential candidate. Before sharing their list with the class, each student should (1) rank order their list and (2) highlight the top three requirements they believe political parties should emphasize. 2. Lead a classroom discussion on what students believe those characteristics to be. Encourage students to use information they have learned to argue for their positions. 3. Ask students to apply their criteria to the current presidential campaigns by selecting a vice presidential running mate for a major candidate. To defend their selections, students should use historical and electoral (e.g., state populations and electoral vote distribution) information. Comparing Vice Presidents There have been a number of vice presidents (examples: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford) who have become president in unusual circumstances. How did each person become president? Divide the class into groups. Each group should represent a different vice president. Have each group find the information to complete the chart below for their president. (Use http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ to help find the information). Have each group share their information with the other groups. What conclusions do they draw about their particular Vice President? What similarities and differences have they found? How does Harry Truman compare to each of the Vice Presidents studied? Your Group’s Truman Vice President Took over from which president. What happened to the President? Home state Political position held prior to being elected vice president Personal background and family circumstances Delivered an inaugural address? yes/no Impeachment attempted? yes/no Relationship with the party that elected him Issues faced during term as president Assessment: The list of criteria for a running mate and the chart comparing each president should reflect the student’s mastery of the subject material.