The Toughest Task in the World
How difficult must it have been for John Adams, the Second President of the United States, to follow a living legend? Washington was the most celebrated figure in American History: the Father of our Country.
Adams had a tough task to live up to the expectations of office created by George Washington. He tried to emulate Washington then added his own personal "flair" to the Presidency. Neither worked very well in his 4 years in office. The difference in personality (or
"likeability) between he and Washington was enormous....to much to overcome to ever be a popular President.
We will begin with an introductory activity which asks students to name their favorite teacher of all time and what characteristics made that person so special to them. Then they will compare that school year to the following year when they had a teacher who was not so "special" to them. This, we do in an attempt to get students to appreciate the formidable task John Adams had of following the most popular figure in America: George Washington.
During this lesson, we will explore the challenges (domestic and foreign) which face President Adams and the difficult choices he had to make which eventually cost him and chance of becoming President in 1800. Among the topics for debate are the Constitutionality of the Alien and Sedition Acts and the dilemma of going to war with France or England.
- lecture and discussion
- class notes: "Launching a New Government"
- Electoral Results of 1796 (primary source)
- John Adam (biography)
- "Interview with John Adams about the Alien and Sedition Acts" (primary source)
- The Alien and Sedition Acts (primary source)
- The Kentucky Resolutions (primary source)
- Presidential Decision #3: The XYZ Affair
- Powerpoint presentation: "The Alien and Sedition Acts"
- Powerpoint presentation: "John Adams and the XYZ Affair (teachertube video)
Delaware State Standards
Civics Standard One 6-8a: Students will understand that governments have the power to make and enforce laws and regulations, levy taxes, conduct foreign policy ,and make war.
Civics Standard One 6-8b: Students will analyze the different functions of federal, state, and local governments in the United States and examine the reasons for the different organizational structures each level of government employs.
Civics Standard Two 6-8a: Students will understand that the concept of majority rule does not mean that the rights of minorities may be disregarded and will examine and apply the protections accorded those minorities in the American political system.
Civics Standard Two 6-8b: Students will understand the principles and content of major American state papers such as the Declaration of Independence; United States Constitution (including the Bill of Rights); and the Federalist Papers.
Civics Standard Three 6-8a: Students will understand that civil rights secure political freedom while property rights secure economic freedom and that both are essential protections for United States citizens.
Civics Standard Three 6-8b: Students will understand that American citizenship includes responsibilities such as voting, jury duty, obeying the law, service in the armed forces when required, and public service.
Civics Standard Four 6-8a: Students will follow the actions of elected officials, and understand and employ the mechanisms for communicating with them while in office
Economics Standard One 6-8a: Students will analyze how changes in technology, costs, and demand interact in competitive markets to determine or change the price of goods and services.
Economics Standard Two 6-8a: Students will analyze the role of money and banking in the economy, and the ways in which government taxes and spending affect the functioning of market economies.
Economics Standard Three 6-8a: Students will demonstrate the ways in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange in different economic systems have a relationship to cultural values, resources, and technologies.
Economics Standard Four 6-8a: Students will examine how nations with different economic systems specialize and become interdependent through trade and how government policies allow either free or restricted trade.
Geography Standard One 6-8a: Students will demonstrate mental maps of the world and its sub-regions which include the relative location and characteristics of major physical features, political divisions, and human settlements.
Geography Standard Two 6-8a: Students will apply a knowledge of the major processes shaping natural environments to understand how different peoples have changed, and been affected by, physical environments in the world’s sub-regions.
Geography Standard Three 6-8a: Students will identify and explain the major cultural patterns of human activity in the world’s sub-regions.
Geography Standard Four 6-8a: Students will understand the processes affecting the location of economic activities in different world regions.
Geography Standard Four 6-8b: Students will explain how conflict and cooperation among people contribute to the division of the Earth’s surface into distinctive cultural and political territories.
History Standard One 6-8a: Students will examine historical materials relating to a particular region, society, or theme; analyze change over time, and make logical inferences concerning cause and effect.
History Standard Two 6-8a: Students will master the basic research skills necessary to conduct an independent investigation of historical phenomena.
History Standard Two 6-8b: Students will examine historical documents, artifacts, and other materials, and analyze them in terms of credibility, as well as the purpose, perspective, or point of view for which they were constructed.
History Standard Three 6-8a: Students will compare different historians’ descriptions of the same societies in order to examine how the choice of questions and use of sources may affect their conclusions.
History Standard Four: Students will develop historical knowledge of major events and phenomena in world, United States, and Delaware history [Content].
Students will develop an understanding of pre-industrial United States history and its connections to Delaware history, including:
Three worlds meet (Beginnings to 1620)
-- Colonization and settlement (1585-1763)
-- Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
-- Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
-- Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Students will develop an understanding of ancient and medieval world history, and the continuing influence of major civilizations, including:
-- The beginnings of human society
-- Early civilizations and pastoral peoples (4,000-1,000 BC)
-- Classical traditions, major religions, and great empires (1,000 BC-300AD)
-- Expanding zones of exchange and encounter (300-1,000AD)
-- Intensified hemispheric interactions (1,000-1,500 AD)