The Embodied Presidency Lesson Title Rotation in Office Grade Level

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The Embodied Presidency

Lesson Title

Rotation in Office

Grade Level

11th Grade
Estimated Time Required:

Number of Days: 1

Number of Half-Hour Segments per Day: 3
Author Information

Name: Summer Hill

School: Southern High School- Durham Public Schools
Brief Description of the Lesson

In this lesson students will use Andrew Jackson’s First Inaugural Address and a letter written to General Jackson from Mary Barney (the wife of Major W.W. Barney-who was removed from office) to develop an argument. Students will be expected to develop an argument that both supports and disapproves the use of the spoils system.

Lesson Plan Objectives

Skill Objectives:

1. SWBAT interpret archival documents.

2. SWBAT write a classical argument using primary and secondary source documents.

3. SWBAT develop a thesis with supporting evidence.

4. SWBAT work collaboratively.

Content Objectives:

1. SWBAT define the spoils system.

2. SWBAT examine the cause and effects of the spoils system.

3. SWBAT infer the intentions of Andrew Jackson and his reform to the positions of public office.

4. SWBAT differentiate between the perspective Jackson’s First Inaugural Address and Mary Barney’s opposition letter.

North Carolina Social Studies Curriculum Alignment Standard Course of Study

Click on the appropriate grade level. Cut and Paste the appropriate Competency Goal(s) and Objective(s).

Eleventh Grade United States History

Competency Goal 2

Expansion and Reform (1801-1850) - The learner will assess the competing forces of expansionism, nationalism, and sectionalism.


2.03- Distinguish between the economic and social issues that led to sectionalism and nationalism

2.04- Assess political events, issues, and personalities that contributed to sectionalism and nationalism.

2.05- Identify the major reform movements and evaluate their effectiveness.
Print and Non-print Materials

Print Materials (textbook segments or readings)

Wilentz, Sean and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Editor. The American Presidents: Andrew Jackson. 2005
Mrs. Mary Barney’s letter to General Jackson on the Removal of Her Husband from office: Baltimore, June 13, 1829
Non-print Materials (videos, images, etc.)

Political Cartoon 1: “To the victor belongs the spoils.”

Political Cartoon 2: “Office Hunters for the Year 1834”
Technology Needs

(Include computer hardware and software, audio-visual components, and internet sites needed to teach the lesson.)

Overhead projector
Pre-Lesson Expectations

(Provide a brief statement of the context for the lesson. Where should the lesson fit in the sequence of the class? What should a student know before beginning the lesson?)

In teaching this lesson the students should have prior knowledge of Andrew Jackson as America’s seventh president. Specifically, they should be familiar with his personality and his approach to reforming the executive branch. The concept of nationalism, democracy, and the spoils system should have been introduced. Overall, students should know key times of the Jacksonian Era.

(Provide a step-by-step sequence of instructions for the teacher to teach the lesson. It is very important to be as specific as possible. A teacher should be able to follow the sequence and know not only what they should be doing in each step but also what the expectations are for the students in the appropriate steps.)

Warm up- What does he mean by rotation in office?

  1. To get a better understanding of the spoils system, have students read the excerpt from The American Presidents: Andrew Jackson by Sean Wilentz. Be sure students are familiar with the vocabulary of the reading. After students have read they are to answer the questions that follow.

  2. Because the vocabulary of the reading is somewhat heavy have your students pair up with someone and read together.


  1. Give half of your class political cartoon 1- “To the victors belongs the spoils,” and give the other half of your class political cartoon 2-“Office hunters of the year 1834.”

  2. Individually, have students complete the cartoon analysis worksheet for their political cartoon. It is expected that students have had experience with analyzing political cartoons.

  3. Now have students to partner up with someone who had a different political cartoon. Students are to spend 3-4 minutes showing (by showing I mean students should share how they analyzed the political cartoon) their partner the political cartoon they’ve analyzed.

  4. After that project each cartoon and create a small classroom discussion with your students so that the students can also see your interpretation.


  1. Designated three of the groups as each being a Barney’s group and the other three groups are each the Jackson.

  2. Three groups are to receive the Jackson’s First Inaugural Address while the other three groups will receive the Barny letter. Students will use these documents to create an argument.

  3. At this point, before you introduce the argument assignment students in their groups should complete the written document analysis sheet.

  4. A representative from each group will then share out their groups research while the class takes notes on this research.


(Provide an assessment plan to allow the teacher to evaluate a student’s progress toward meeting the objective(s) of the lesson. The assessment must include a rubric that tells a teacher how to grade the proposed assessment tool.

In order for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the lesson’s objectives they will write a classical argument in five parts: introduction, narration, confirmation, refutation and concession, and summation.
On day two of this lesson, students are to draft this argument in these five parts. After drafting their argument they should then give it to a person in their group for peer editing. All students should have their argument read and revised by a peer before rewriting and submitting it to the teacher.

Related Internet Resources

(Provide web addresses related to the lesson plan that a teacher might use as background or supplementary material for the lesson.)

(List the filenames for charts, presentations, or other materials created for the lesson.)

Mary Barney’s letter- or filename: Mary Barney’s letter
1st Inaugural Address- or filename: Jackson’s First Inaugural Address
Written Document Analysis Worksheet-
Cartoon Analysis Worksheet-
Warm up- file name: Excerpt from Sean Wilentz

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