Module Overview

 Module Description

In this module, you will review essential ideas and principles that form the framework of the curriculum throughout this course. You will also have the opportunity to use some of the tools you will be using in different activities. This module is not mandatory and if you are familiar with these processes, you can move into the first course module. This module will be available throughout the course as a reference guide to using some of the features of Moodle.

About BRI  
The Institute envisions a society in which all individuals enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a society in which:

·       Students engage with and champion these rights for themselves and others.

·       Teachers educate students to seek knowledge and tackle challenges with these rights in mind.

·       Parents empower their children to apply these rights in their own lives through interaction, example, and dialogue.

An education in the principles of the American founding is an education in self-government and everything we produce has self-governance as the core lesson. Every aspect of classroom lessons and culture teach values that either align with or do not align with supporting an education for self-governance.

By completing this course, you will be able to independently create lessons and develop a classroom culture that supports education for self-governance.


In this course…  
Presidents & the Constitution is a pathbreaking and important curriculum produced by the Bill of Rights Institute that has provided thousands of teachers and students with a comprehensive analysis and resources for studying the executive branch in the American constitutional order. The curriculum has broad applications for U.S. History and Civics classes. Presidents & the Constitution was a vital addition to its curricula of the three branches of the government along with Supreme Court Decision-Based Questions (DBQs) and First Branch: Congress and the Constitution.

Presidents & the Constitution provides a comprehensive study of the presidency. The topics examine constitutional principles and how the executive fits into the national government in its relationship to the other branches. Presidential powers are covered extensively and include executive power within a federal system, war-making powers, diplomacy, and law enforcement. The curriculum also focuses on structural issues such as how presidents are elected and the impeachment process. The topic of slavery is directly addressed by the curriculum.

Presidents & the Constitution does not shy away from controversial topics. Indeed, it shows how important controversies shaped the executive branch and American constitutionalism, society, and domestic and foreign policy over almost two and a half centuries. The curriculum captures dramatic and compelling stories and episodes in the history of the American presidency for students. Contested elections, impeachment debates, going to war, the question of civil liberties, and the imperial presidency are all addressed by the scholars in a thoughtful and non-partisan manner.

Presidents & the Constitution is a valuable resource for teachers and students in classrooms. Several notable historians and political scientists contributed readable, brief essays from diverse points of view. As always, BRI created useful and engaging classroom-ready lessons for teachers to use with their students in a variety of classroom settings. Teachers have taught the curriculum for more than a decade, and BRI and its scholars have presented Presidents & the Constitution at seminars around the country for hundreds of teachers. It has been available on-line as a free resource for teachers for several years.


Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of each module of this course, you will be able to:

Module 1

·      Examine the development of presidential federal power.

·      Analyze the different approaches taken by Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt to solving the problems of the Great Depression

·      Evaluate to what extent the beliefs and actions of Hoover and Roosevelt were consistent with key constitutional principles.

·      Evaluate the development and use of federal power.

·      Evaluate the use of federal power over time.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching presidential actions.

Module 2

·      Examine ways the national government has addressed civil liberties in times of crisis.

·      Explore the events that led to President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus.

·      Assess the constitutionality of Lincoln’s actions.

·      Assess the ways presidents have interpreted their powers in times of war and the implications on civil liberties.

·      Assess the role of the founding principles in the development of lessons on the concept of war and civil liberties.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching the president’s role as Commander in Chief.

Module 3

·      Examine the constitutional provisions concerning slavery.

·      Examine President Buchanan’s statements regarding the Dred Scot decision and the spread of slavery.

·      Assess contemporary reactions to the Dred Scott decision expressed in newspaper editorials.

·      Evaluate various statements regarding the institution of slavery, considering to what extent those statements reflect our nation’s highest principles.

·      Evaluate the relationship between the constitution and slavery.

·      Assess presidents’ abilities to meet the founding principles of equality and liberty.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching the constitution and slavery.

Module 4

·      Examine the relationship between the executive branch and the enforcement of national laws.

·      Analyze the events leading up to and including the Little Rock Crisis.

·      Analyze President Eisenhower’s constitutional justification for his action during the Little Rock Crisis.

·      Assess presidential actions in relation to their Constitutional role as Chief Executive.

·      Evaluate the instructional resources within the context of their classroom demographics.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching presidential actions.

Module 5

·      Examine examples of impeachment as a means to hold presidents accountable for behavior in office.

·      Analyze events of the Watergate scandal and the Presidents use of executive privilege.

·      Evaluate cartoons as a means of communicating understandings of executive privilege.

·      Assess examples of impeachment as a means to hold presidents accountable for behavior in office.

·      Create student discussion questions utilizing a virtues and vices theme.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching impeachment.

Module 6

·      Examine the process of electing a president.

·      Analyze events during the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

·      Analyze arguments from both sides of the Bush v. Gore case.

·      Assess how the Constitution provides for peaceful transfers of power between presidents-elect.

·      Evaluate examples of how our Constitutional principles have been tested and select primary sources to support these examples.

·      Reflect on their learning experiences and share thinking around teaching presidential actions.

Demonstration of Mastery

·      Develop lessons that support education for self-governance.

·      Evaluate your own efficacy in supporting education for self-governance.