Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


1948 Election Strategy
Author:
Mark Hoduski
Course:
Civics
Time Frame:
Three days: Day 1 - read and analyze memorandum, share conclusions, and discuss ethics of memorandum, day 2 - create modern day campaign memorandum, Day 3 – present PowerPoint of campaign strategy and hold peer discussion on each g
Subjects:
Campaign Strategy
,
Electoral College
,
1948 Election

Grade Levels:
12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Using cooperative learning small groups will analyze and summarize key aspects of the Clifford-Rowe Memorandum.  Each group will evaluate the memorandum and decide whether it is appropriate to write such a memorandum as a natural part of America’s democratic process or if it is an unacceptable and cynical document that has no place in our Democracy.  Finally, students will write a modern campaign strategy memorandum to help either a Republican or a Democrat become president by identifying four groups and four issues that will help their candidate win key electoral states.  The memorandum will be presented in a written and oral PowerPoint presentation.

Rationale:

To demonstrate that their was nothing accidental about Truman’s victory in 1948, and to show that political stratagem is not only an acceptable practice, but a necessary part of a successful and vibrant democracy.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  • National Standard:  Formulate a position or course of action on an issue (Historical Thinking Standard 5E) Students will write a modern campaign strategy memorandum to help either a Republican or a Democrat become president by identifying four groups and four issues that will help their candidate win key electoral states.  The memorandum will be presented in a written and oral PowerPoint presentation.
  • National Standard:  Evaluate the implementation of a decision (Historical Thinking Standard 5F) Using cooperative learning small groups will analyze and summarize key aspects of the Clifford-Rowe Memorandum.  Each person will evaluate the memorandum and decide whether it is appropriate to write such a memorandum as a natural part of America’s democratic process or if it is an unacceptable and cynical document that has no place in our Democracy.

 Missouri Standards

1. Principles expressed in the documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

3. Principles and processes of governance systems

 

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)

 

 

Kansas Standards

 

Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).

1. (K) explains why the United States emerged as a superpower as the result of World War II.

2.(A) analyzes the origins of the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the Soviet Bloc, Mao’s victory in China, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Iron Curtain).

3. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Truman and Eisenhower during the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the United Nations, containment, NATO, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Blockade, Korean War, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

N/A

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Memo, Clark Clifford to Harry S. Truman, November 19, 1947 Truman library 1948 Campaign Online Research File 
  • http://www.270towin.com Interactive electoral map
  • Full description of activity or assignment.
    1. The teacher will lecture on the Election of 1948.
    2. Using cooperative learning small groups will analyze and summarize key aspects of the Clifford-Rowe Memorandum – page 1-14 concluding with the letter “h” – on a worksheet provided by the teacher.   Each group will discuss their conclusions during a class forum.
    3. Each person will evaluate the memorandum and decide whether it is appropriate to write such a memorandum as a natural part of America’s democratic process or if it is an unacceptable and cynical document that has no place in our Democracy.  Students will each summarize their arguments in a paragraph.  The class will then discuss their conclusions.  The teacher will contrast with other models of governing such as an oligarchy or an autocracy.
    4.  Students will write a modern campaign strategy memorandum to help either a Republican or a Democrat become president by identifying four groups and four issues that will help their candidate win key electoral states. Students will use an interactive map to demonstrate which states they hope to win with their campaign strategy.  The memorandum will be presented in a written and oral PowerPoint presentation.  Each student is responsible for writing on one group and one issue and presenting their findings to the class during their group’s presentation.
    5. Each group will write comments on the other group’s memorandum identifying at least on positive aspect of the plan and one negative aspect of the plan.  The class will then hold a general discussion on all of the plans and vote on which plan they believe to be the best (they may not vote for their own).

    Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
    • Students will take a unit test to identify their understanding of the Election of 1948.
    • To demonstrate an ability to “formulate a position or course of action on an issue” Students will write a modern campaign strategy memorandum to help either a Republican or a Democrat become president by identifying four groups and four issues that will help their candidate win key electoral states.  The memorandum will be presented in a written and oral PowerPoint presentation.  Each student will be evaluated on the section (group and issue) they wrote and presented.
    • To demonstrate an ability to “evaluate the implementation of a decision” each student will evaluate the memorandum and decide whether it is appropriate to write such a memorandum as a natural part of America’s democratic process or if it is an unacceptable and cynical document that has no place in our Democracy.  Each student will turn in a summary paragraph of their answer.
    • Students will also be expected to argue and defend their positions in both the group setting and class setting
    • Students will take a unit test to identify their understanding of the Election of 1948.
    • To demonstrate an ability to “formulate a position or course of action on an issue” Students will write a modern campaign strategy memorandum to help either a Republican or a Democrat become president by identifying four groups and four issues that will help their candidate win key electoral states.  The memorandum will be presented in a written and oral PowerPoint presentation.  Each student will be evaluated on the section (group and issue) they wrote and presented.
    • To demonstrate an ability to “evaluate the implementation of a decision” each student will evaluate the memorandum and decide whether it is appropriate to write such a memorandum as a natural part of America’s democratic process or if it is an unacceptable and cynical document that has no place in our Democracy.  Each student will turn in a summary paragraph of their answer.
    • Students will also be expected to argue and defend their positions in both the group setting and class setting.