In this activity, students will apply their knowledge of different principles of governments to a hypothetical presidential election set in the not-to-distant future.
This activity, as stated, is a work of fiction. When I created this in 2013, the events described were meant to be somewhat outlandish—not likely in the United States, although not uncommon in some other nations. The purpose was to get students to think deeply about why our constitutional principles are so important. It may be argued that many Americans take many of the principles for granted, or are even unaware of some or all of them. I have tried to balance what might be considered to be both the flattering and unflattering depictions of Republicans and Democrats.
This activity should be done after your classes have had readings, lectures, and/or discussions on the principles of our government.
The principles I had in mind when I created this should be familiar irrespective of the textbook used in class. They include:
• Separation of Powers
• Checks and Balances
• Limited Government
• Individual Rights
• Rule of Law
• Independent Judiciary
• Popular Sovereignty
• Republicanism/Representative Democracy
The KEY includes not only the specific principles I had in mind at each stopping point, but also specific questions to facilitate discussion of what students think about those principles, and what should happen next. It is certainly possible that students may consider other principles at work.
Just to emphasize a point: not all students will agree on HOW the principles are involved, but they should agree on WHAT principles are involved.
There are no specific answers for “what should happen next”—the purpose is to stimulate discussion and thinking.