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I propose that critically examining two crisis elections in American history in my 10th grade United States History I class will allow my students and me to address questions about crisis elections and the electoral process while we cover required historical material from the district curriculum. The elections of 1800 and 2000 were knife-edge elections that raise important issues about the form and function of democracy in America. From an historical perspective, one can gain much knowledge of the electoral process in studying these elections. "Who can vote?" and "how they vote" in each election reveals a cultural portrait of democracy in America over the course of 200 years. Additionally, how these crisis elections were resolved also demonstrates procedural differences in the electoral process from then to now. Moreover, the Supreme Court's role in the resolution of the election of 2000 distinguishes the Supreme Court as a factor in national politics today. This unit contains assignments in reading multiple texts and ideas for class simulations. The readings and activities blend historical study with the work of political theorists.
Number 16 of the periodical On Common Ground
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