ARE PROTESTS SUCCESSFUL IN INFLUENCING POLITICAL DECISION-MAKING?
You and your grandmother are driving through town to do some errands when you have to stop at a police barricade.
“Will you look at this?” your grandmother says, “A bunch of protesters. I wish they would go protest somewhere else.”
But you’re intrigued. What are these people protesting against?
While grandma turns the car around to take a different route, you notice the signs the protesters are carrying – “No More U.S. War in Middle East,” “Education, Not Bombs,” “Bring our Soldiers Home Now!”
You’re not exactly sure how you feel about the political issue, but you think the protesters are brave to say what’s on their minds.
“Grandma, were there protesters against the old wars?”
“No, there weren’t, thank you very much,” she says. “People understood that we elect our politicians and then we trust them to make our decisions… especially when it comes to war. It changed with Vietnam, but before that… everybody was always on board. Everybody.”
Still, you can’t help wondering – was everyone in America totally on board for the old wars, like World War I and World War II? Reading some of the history books and listening to your grandmother, it can sure seem that everyone lined up behind the politicians and did what they had to do. But was that really how it was?
Investigate the primary sources from the World War I era. Were Americans expressing their opinions on all sides of public decision-making even back in the “good old days”? 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.
A political protest is a public demonstration of disapproval related to the actions or policies of the government. Examples include writing petitions or taking part in a march.