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Key Constitutional Concepts: Presidential Power


This lesson focuses on the landmark Supreme Court case Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), which challenged the extent to which the president of the United States can exercise power during times of foreign conflict. The underlying issue, which has arisen throughout our nation’s history, is to define the balance of power among the three branches of government during times of national emergency.

This lesson, based on the Annenberg Classroom video “Key Constitutional Concepts: Presidential Power,” is meant to teach students how constitutional law determines the parameters of presidential power by focusing on President Harry Truman’s domestic policy regarding labor and the steel industry during the Korean War.

The estimated time for this lesson plan is 45 minutes.

Download the lesson plan