Lesson 3C: Government Power

Lesson 3C: Government Power    Grade: 9-12 (adaptations required for 6-8)           Time: Two class periods

Cross Curricular Components: 1C: Historical Context of Conservation; 3A: The Progressives; 4A: Conservation vs Preservation; 6E: Pol. Cartoons; 6G: What Might Have Been

PDE Academic Standards: 1.1.8/11; 1.2.8/11; 1.4.8/10; 1.6.8/11; 4.2.8/10; 4.3.7/10; 4.8.7/10/12; 4.9.11; 5.1.9/12; 5.2.9/12; 5.3.9/12; 6.2.9; 6.4.9; 6.5.9/12; 7.1.9/12; 7.4.9/12; 8.1.9/12; 8.2.9/12; 8.3.9/12



–Students will understand the conflicts in society between economic and environmental interests and the role of the citizen in government as well as the interpretation of these roles in the media.

–Students will compare and contrast the ideas behind the laissez-faire attitude of big business at the turn of the century and the concerns of environmentalists today.

–Students will explain Roosevelt’s view of the role of individual citizens in dealing with economic and environmental concerns and how the media perceived that role. They will agree or disagree.



Seeking the Greatest Good

The New Nationalism Speech by Theodore Roosevelt  (Appendix H)

List of Critical Issues (Appendix D)

The U.S. Constitution (Appendix F)

Political Cartoon Analysis Worksheet (Appendix E)

Political Cartoon ppt (policar1)

North Carolina Dogital History Educators Guide:  http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-eg/6460

Theodore Roosevelt Association website: http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/research/curriculum5to12.htm


Anticipatory Set:  (2min)      “Moment of Zen”       Discuss the quote as it relates to both students and the topic.

“The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation

of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”

–       President Theodore Roosevelt


Procedure:                 *Adapted from the Theodore Roosevelt Association website

–View Chapter III of Seeking the Greatest Good

— Ask students to examine the list of critical issues addressed by Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency.  Have them select one of the issues listed; then using a variety of sources, draw a comparison as a report or a chart showing a critical question within the issue; then identify opposing arguments as well as individuals/groups on both sides of the argument. Have students read the portion of the U.S. Constitution regarding the powers of the executive branch. (many of the same issues, arguments and opposition faced by Americans at the dawn of the 20th century, are major issues one hundred years later.) Finally, have students assess whether the action taken by the President in addressing the issue moved beyond the executive powers as defined by the Constitution.

–As a class, answer the following questions:

What were the long-term impacts of Roosevelt’s conservation efforts?
–Next, show students the power point that contains political cartoons from this Era, and ask them to analyze them, using the Political Cartoon Worksheet. How does the cartoon address: Gifford Pinchot, TR and their relationship?
–Give each student a copy of Roosevelt’s speech. In groups of three, have students read the essay and discuss the following in their group:
–List which people in society were likely to oppose Roosevelt’s ideas. Why?
–List arguments for and against Roosevelt’s statement, “Public rights come first…private interests second,” and        give an example from history and the current day to illustrate each side.
–As a class, discuss the following questions:
1. What should be done to preserve the natural surroundings in your area? Is it a public issue or private concern?        Did the media accurately portray Roosevelt’s intentions and the constitutionality of his actions?  Does the media         accurately portray current issues?
2.  Examine the concept of “executive orders”.  Are these constitutional? Ethical?  A justifiable means to a greater   end?  Describe the power shift in government vs the private sector and how it was portrayed by the media.  How           similar or different are these debates to the ones currently happening in the US?
3.  Does the Federal Government have a RIGHT to set aside lands for public use?  What would the U.S. look like if TR had not done so? Should we be doing more?


Closure/Summary:            (3min)

Key Questions

–Does the government have a right or a responsibility to govern land use?  Should/can the government constitutionally legislate conservation or preservation?

–Which is the “better” approach – conservation, preservation, or private enterprise?  Is there even a “better”?



–Ask the students to find and present at least one current issue/event that is similar and draw their own political cartoon about it.


Students will be evaluated by the quality of their responses

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