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Handout

In this lesson, students learn about the role of an independent judiciary in the United States. Through a cooperative learning jigsaw activity, they focus on operational differences, essential functions, limited powers, and controversial issues.

Handout

In this lesson students gain insight into the many challenges involved in defining and protecting free speech. They also learn about principles that come from U.S. Supreme Court decisions, such as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and Morse v. Frederick, and case law that are applied to define the limits for us today.

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This lesson teaches about the cause-and-effect relationships between historical events and the development of constitutional principles that protect the rights of all people in America today.

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Through the lesson, students gain insight into decision-making at the Supreme Court, learn about the people behind the case, construct a persuasive argument, and evaluate the significance of Brown v. Board of Education.

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This lesson explores one of the toughest political fights in American history – over a bill of rights for individuals – and the outcome that became a symbol of liberty and freedom in America.

Handout

This lesson tells the law-changing story behind the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Students gain insight into law-making process and consider how statutory decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court can prompt better laws.

Book

This resource is a bibliography for those interested in reading more about the rights and responsibilities of citizens enumerated in the Constitution.

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The American Presidency- Sponsored by Grolier Online, an educational portal drawing from Grolier’s various encyclopedias, this site provides information about American Presidents, Vice Presidents, Presidential candidates, and Presidential elections.

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Advice and consent: Article II provides that Presidents may nominate judges and high-level executive branch officers and negotiate treaties with the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”

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Supreme Court Decisions that Shaped the Constitution- Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madison (1803). On the last night of his Presidency, John Adams appointed a number of Federalists to office, just before Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans assumed power.

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Delegates to the Constitutional Convention- Connecticut: Oliver Ellsworth (1745–1807) was born in Windsor, Connecticut. He attended Yale, graduated from the College of New Jersey (which later became Princeton), and studied law. He served in the Connecticut General Assembly, and the Continental Congress.

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The Twenty-seventh Amendment prevents any congressional pay raise from going into effect until after the voters have been able to cast ballots in the next election, registering their approval or disapproval. With the voters in mind, legislators were likely to be more cautious about increasing their own salaries.

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The unpopularity of the military draft during the Vietnam War raised questions about why young men between eighteen and twenty-one should be qualified to fight for their country but not to vote for the leaders who made decisions about war and peace. The Twenty-sixth Amendment lowered the voting age to eighteen.

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Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became President, and the office of Vice President sat vacant for more than a year until the next election. The Twenty-fifth Amendment was then passed to allow the President to appoint a Vice President if that office becomes vacant, subject to a vote of approval by the House and Senate.

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Although the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited voting discrimination on account of race, many southern states enacted laws to make it difficult for African Americans to vote. The Twenty-fourth Amendment was designed to address one particular injustice, the poll tax.

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As a federal district, the capital had neither an elected local governor nor the right to vote in national elections. At the same time, District residents had all the responsibilities of citizenship. The Twenty-third Amendment did not make Washington, D.C., a state, but did grant its citizens the right to vote in Presidential elections and it allotted the District the number of electors it would have had if it were a state.

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Nothing in the original Constitution limited the number of terms that a President could serve, but the nation’s first President, George Washington, set a precedent by declining to run for a third term, suggesting that two four-year terms were enough for any President.

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March 4 was initially chosen as the date a new President, Vice President, and Congress took office, because there needed to be time to travel to the capital and for the new representatives and senators to settle their affairs at home before sitting as a Congress. As transportation and communications improved, this meant that the departing Congress and President remained in office for an unnecessarily long time.