The Executive Branch

Run Time: 22:09

Civic Holiday: Constitution Day, Election Day, Inauguration Day, Presidents Day

This engaging, interactive lesson traces the history of the American presidency and features a special introduction by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos—former adviser and communications director for President Bill Clinton. Join constitutional experts and the Center’s education staff to explore why it was important for our young nation to have an executive branch, and why nevertheless some people were worried about giving it too much power. We’ll also take a trip to a very special location in America’s presidential history.

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Discussion Questions

Before You Watch
  1. Why is the Constitution so important? What does it have to do with the presidency?
  2. What kind of leaders did we have before we had a president?
  3. How does someone become president? Who is allowed to become president?
  4. Do you have a favorite president from history? If so, who is it and why is he your favorite?
  5. What kinds of attributes do you think a good president should have?
After You Watch
  1. How is the United States “an experiment in democracy”? How is it like a swinging pendulum?
  2. What is the meaning of “no taxation without representation,” and why did the colonists feel so strongly about it?
  3. Who is considered the “Father of the Constitution”? How did he help shape the presidency? Who else helped shape the presidency?
  4. What is the Electoral College, and why does it exist? How does it work?
  5. Can you name some famous presidents from history who had an impact on the office?

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