IT’S A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR, AND ONCE AGAIN, ATTACK ADS FILL THE AIRWAVES AND SOCIAL MEDIA.
Ms. Waters, the history teacher, knows this can mean more spirited discussions in the hallways as students speak their minds about the candidates. Ms. Waters likes to encourage students to share their opinions about the presidential candidates. It helps her better understand what they think about some of the political ads they are seeing on the internet. One of her students, Everlee, mentions that she can’t even believe the promises some of these candidates make. Does the president really have those powers?
Ms. Waters loves election time, and Everlee’s question is the perfect start for her favorite debate; “Is It Time to Panic about the President?” Ms. Waters explains that the debate isn’t about the current president, or even the previous one. The debate is about whether or not the U.S. government is set up so that no one individual has too much power. Ms. Waters reminds her students that America began because people got tired of being ruled over by the King of England. They wanted to be able to make more decisions for themselves, so they left to found the 13 original colonies.
Everlee remembers that The Constitution set up three branches of the federal government – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – to have a balance of power. This means that no one branch of the government had more power than the others. In fact, each branch has its own powers and responsibilities to create a system of checks and balances. Everlee understands why these checks and balances are important. But she also knows the president is elected to lead the United States’ government.
The writers of the Constitution wanted to create a system that would be different from the monarchy they left behind in England. Investigate the primary sources. How are the powers of the president limited by other parts of the government? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
Presidential power comes from, and is limited by, the Constitution. The writers of the Constitution wanted to avoid giving the full power of the government to a single person, like King George III had in England.