Guided Primary Source Analysis: Does Your Vote for President Count?
Work in a group to discuss what you can learn from this historical newspaper article (download .pdf) just by examining the headline, illustrations, the introduction (the first three paragraphs), and the section headers. What questions do you still have?
Divide the reading of the article among your group members so that each reads 2 or 3 of the 9 sections, then discuss what you’ve read to answer the questions below.
- What was the main point of each section?
- How does each section relate to the article as a whole?
- Based on your reading, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Electoral College?
- Were any of your previous questions answered? What questions do you still have?
Now investigate some pros and cons of the electoral college and research contemporary ideas for Electoral College reform (resources to help get you started are linked to below). Discuss what you learned with your group and, together, prepare a presentation for the class.
- Electoral College Pros & Cons
- Britannica ProCon.org
- National Conference of State Legislators
- Electoral College Reform: Contemporary Issues for Congress Congressional Research Service October 6, 2017
- Electoral College Reform
- Past Attempts at Reform 1950-2004 FairVote
- Electoral College Reform: 110th Congress Proposals, the National Popular Vote Campaign, and Other Alternative Developments Congressional Research Service February 9, 2009
- The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 114th and 115th Congress Congressional Research Service August 24, 2017
- National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Ballotpedia
- Presentation Options
- Conduct a structured academic controversy that makes arguments for and against keeping the electoral college as it currently works; after, prepare a presentation for the class on the experience.
- Come to a consensus on a solution for electoral college reform and prepare a written or spoken argument for the class that includes a role for each group member.
What other observations, reflections or questions do these sources inspire? Let us know!
- A Look at the Electoral College through Math and U.S. History Lenses Teaching with the Library of Congress
- Electoral College: Are All Votes Equal? Citizen U middle school lesson
- Guided Primary Source Analysis: The Constitutional Amendment
- Primary Source Learning: Presidential Elections