Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Persuading the Public: The Presidential Elections of 1976, 1980, and 1984
Author:
Crista Burnett
Course:
US History
Time Frame:
3 class periods
Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Using both primary and secondary sources, students (working in small groups) will research and analyze the candidates and issues of the 1976, 1980, and 1984 campaigns, and create original campaign materials which convey and understanding of these elections.

Rationale:
  • This unit will help students understand the changes in politics after 1976.

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


  • Kansas Social Studies– United States History Unit: Moving into the 21st Century
  • Standard 1:  Choices have consequences
  • Standard 2: Individuals have rights and responsibilities
  • Standard 3: Societies are shaped by beliefs, ideas, and diversity
  • Standard 5: Relationships between people, places, and ideas, and environments are dynamic.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Schlesinger, Arthur.  Running for President: The Candidates and Their Images, 1900-1992. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
  • Voss, Frederick.  Packaging Presidents: 200 Years of Campaigns & Candidates.  Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, 2008. p. 173 (helpful background)

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Full description of activity or assignment.

Persuading the Public: The Presidential Elections of 1976, 1980, and 1984

Using both primary and secondary sources, students will research and analyze the candidates and issues of the 1976, 1980, and 1984 campaigns, and create original campaign materials which convey and understanding of these elections.

 

Directions:

1)      Divide the class into groups and assign each group one campaign ticket to research:

                                                                1976 (D) Carter/Mondale

                                                                1976 (R) Ford/Dole

                                                                1980 (D) Carter/Mondale

                                                                1980 (R) Reagan/Bush

                                                                1984 (D) Mondale/ Ferraro

                                                                1984 (R) Reagan/Bush

 

2)      Assign the students the corresponding chapter from Running for President edited by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., or a similar work to provide background for the election.

 

3)      Students should research the major issues of the campaign using speeches, posters, television ads, etc.

Useful websites:

1976

http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/

https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/platforms.php

http://millercenter.org/president#speeches

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/

https://www.loc.gov/publish/general/presidential-posters-gallery/

 

1980

https://reaganlibrary.gov/

http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/platforms.php

http://millercenter.org/president#speeches

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/

https://www.loc.gov/publish/general/presidential-posters-gallery/

 

1984

https://reaganlibrary.gov/

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/platforms.php

http://millercenter.org/president#speeches

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/

https://www.loc.gov/publish/general/presidential-posters-gallery/

 

4)      Students will design two types of campaign materials, one which presents the candidate in a positive light, and one which presents the opposition in a negative light.  Campaign materials can include the types of methods used in the assigned elections, such as television ads, posters, buttons, etc.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Grading: 50 points possible per campaign material (100 points total)

Campaign materials should:

a)      Effectively use a combination of names, symbols, slogans, images, colors, etc. 

b)      Effectively use at least one or two positions, or opposition positions, to convey an understanding of the issues.

c)       Be accurate, appropriate, and free from errors

 

 

Grading Sheet:

 

Campaign Material #1 –Positive approach

 

______/ 20    Visual Appeal   Campaign materials effectively use a combination of names, symbols, slogans,  

                                                     images, colors, etc.

 

______/20   Content   Campaign materials effectively use at least one or two positions, or opposition 

                                         positions, to convey an understanding of the issues.

 

______/10   Accuracy   Campaign materials should be accurate, appropriate, and free from errors.

 

______/50   Points Possible

 

 

Campaign Material #2 –Negative approach

 

______/ 20    Visual Appeal   Campaign materials effectively use a combination of names, symbols, slogans,  

                                                     images, colors, etc.

 

______/20   Content   Campaign materials effectively use at least one or two positions, or opposition 

                                         positions, to convey an understanding of the issues.

 

______/10   Accuracy   Campaign materials should be accurate, appropriate, and free from errors.

 

______/50   Points Possible

 

 

                       ______/100 total points