Lesson Plan Menu
Democrady: Campaign Financing
  1. A group of four students could present a debate to the entire class; the debate topic would be Resolved, PACs have the right to donate as much money as they wish to candidates for political office. This debate would more than likely focus on the issue of free speech (money = speech). (If you wish a format for this debate, please contact Maryann Wolfe at Oakland Technical High School, 879-3050)
  2. Have a group of three students interview their congressperson or senator (or their legislative assistants located locally) to explore the impact of the need to seek campaign contributions on candidates and officeholders lives; it would also be important to seek out articles on this as well so have another group of three students perform this task. Have these two groups report back to the entire class; the format could be a role-play where three of the students interview three others who take on the role of the congressperson or senator.
  3. Have the entire class read articles related to issues that are important but unresolved by our politicians because of the influence of interest groups ("Democlerosis," The New Democrat, June/July 1994, pp. 7-12 and "Going To Extremes, Losing The Center," National Journal, June 18,1994, pp. 1394-1398. Have a class discussion centered on why the United States does not have national health care insurance for all its population.
  4. Assign to the entire class a set of pro and con readings on whether or not campaign contributions impact legislators decisions (excerpts from Politics and Money by Elizabeth Drew, 1982 and "The Campaign Reform Failure by Robert Samuelson, 1983). Have a class discussion based on these two articles. Then have two groups of students (3 in each group) do research (use the Internet) to find recent articles opposing and supporting the notion that interest group campaign contributions impact legislative decisions. A few examples are included here in case you want to make this a whole-class reading assignment: "The Capital's Indian War," Newsweek, December 22, 1997, p. 71, Lobbies with wolves," U.S. News & World Report, November 10, 1997, p. 59, "How The Little Guy Gets Crunched," Donald Barlett and James Steele., Time, February 7, 2000, "Health Care: Prescription Drugs", June 4, 2001,"New Friends: The American Medical Association, Democrats and the Patients' Bill of Rights," The Center for Responsive Politics, June 18, 2001 http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/alertv6_22.asp
Essential Question & Unit
Student Activities I
Student Activities II
Student Activities II
Concluding Assignment
Teacher Commentary


Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Democracy and Campaign Financing in the United States

Subject: History
Grade Level: 12th
Lesson Plan Author:
Maryann Wolfe