Evolution of the Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt

How much power should a president be allowed to exert? Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt exercised their power according to their interpretations of the United States Constitution, and these interpretations affected the policies and decisions of their respective administrations. Middle and high schoolers examine the extent to which these presidents used their power, as well as how other American presidents have interpreted the reach of the executive branch, with a group documentary project or research essay.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Connect to a history lesson on the Constitution, the three branches of government, or the presidencies of the early to mid-20th century
  • Provide extension activities to advanced learners or as an extra credit assignment
Classroom Considerations
  • Designed to accompany Ken Burns' documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; the resource provides video clips if you don't have access to the full film
  • Examples of other presidents' uses of executive power extends only through the Obama administration, so you may need to update the list for accuracy
  • Aligned to Common Core standards for language arts and literacy in history/social studies
  • Provides a rubric for standardized assessment
  • None