October 25, 2011
By Elisabeth Grant
Numerous political debates have already taken place in advance of the 2012 presidential election. As the parties pick their candidates and the debates continue, look to the past for a broader perspective on the speeches and strategies taking place today. To help, we’ve rounded up a number of presidential debate resources.
Commission on Presidential Debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates provides debate transcripts, voter education resources, debate history, and more. Back in 2008 we profiled the site here on AHA Today.
PBS Newshour Extra offers resources on current events for use in the classroom by teachers and students. Below we list two of the lesson plans on presidential debates from the site.
- Presidential Debate Primer
This lesson plan draws from issues that came up during the 2008 election, but its objective, to “provide students with a valuable opportunity to learn how the candidates communicate their policy positions and leadership qualities to the American electorate” is broad enough to be applicable in the classroom today.
- Lesson Plan: Holding an In-Class Post Presidential Debate
Developed in 2004, this lesson plan can easily be adjusted to current issues. Students will learn formal debate procedures, logic, and more about campaign issues.
History Now is a quarterly journal from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Find all past issues online, and see the September 2004 issue for articles on presidential elections.
- The Great Debate: Kennedy, Nixon, and Television in the 1960 Race for the Presidency
By Liette Gidlow
See also the Suggested Election Resources, including full transcripts on the Kennedy-Nixon debates.
- The Presidential Election of 1800: A Story of Crisis, Controversy, and Change
By Joanne B. Freeman
Presidential Libraries on YouTube
A number of presidential libraries have YouTube pages where they post videos of important speeches, scholar talks, and exhibit tours. The YouTube page of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has a whole collection of videos on the 1960 presidential campaign, including his debate with Nixon (see below).