American Presidents

For the last seventy years, the American Presidency has been a position of great power and world esteem. While without its own controversies, whoever holds the Office of President of the United States has the physical power and political influence to shape the world beyond recognition. Whenever the President has acted to intervene in the world, it has certainly changed the world, whether for good or for bad.

Given this global authority, what mistakes have they made? Could the position be modified? How do others see their influence?

Useful vocabulary

  1. elocution – the art of speaking well
  2. demagogue – a leader who makes speeches that appeals to greed, fear, hatred, and spreading lies
  3. incumbent – current holder of the office of President
  4. lobby – a group who is trying to get more power in government.
  5. muckraker – someone who “rakes mud” is a person who tries to find dirty secrets and information about a person. Tries to spread this information too.
  6. poll – a survey to better understand public opinion.
  7. veto – a special type of vote which can block the authority of a large body within a government.
  8. red tape – government paperwork and procedures which are cumbersome, long, difficult, and undesired.

American Presidents conversation questions printable worksheet

thumbnail of American Presidents thumbnail of Images for class

Did you know?

  • George Washington (1732 – 1799) refused to take a salary.
  • The “S” in Harry S Truman doesn’t stand for anything. That’s why it doesn’t need a full stop after the “S”.
  • James Buchanan is the only bachelor president.
  • Thomas Jefferson has a group of plants named after him.
  • James Madison (1751 – 1836) was the shortest president at 5’4″. His maximum weight was said to be 98 pounds.
  • John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848) is said to have enjoyed skinny dipping.
  • The capital of Liberia is named after President James Monroe.
  • JFK was the younger than any other president to have died.

Quotations

“Presidents are selected, not elected.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.”
– Gore Vidal

Questions

• Have you ever visited the United States? Do you know how the US government works and what the President’s duties are?
• Who was the first president of the US? Why is he considered the greatest president?
• How long is a president’s term? What is the maximum term they can serve?
• Who was Abraham Lincoln? What do you know about him? How did he die and why?
• Who was John Kennedy? What do you know about him? How did he die and why? Have you heard of the Kennedy curse?
• Who was Ronald Reagan? What do you know about him? How did he die?
• How powerful is the US President? Do they play an important part of world politics and decisions? Do you think they hold too much power?
• How do you think a US president can better the world? Do you think it’s their job and responsibility?
• Can you name the two major political parties in the United States? Do you know the difference in the parties?
• What do you know about Barack Obama? Do you believe world affairs have gotten better or worse under President Obama? What about US affairs?
• Do you know who is running for president in the United States?

Presentation

What should be an American president’s role as the leader of their country and one of the most powerful politicians in the world?

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