Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Is This the Ugliest Campaign Ever? Not So Fast…

With the presidential election a mere one week away, the debates concluded, and with name-calling such as “Crooked Hillary” and “Deplorables” still being thrown around as often as a post-debate tweet, you might wonder whether this election holds the distinction of being the most contentious and dirtiest campaign ever. For many people living today, that answer would most certainly ring true. But as Lee Corso on College GameDay on ESPN would say, not so fast, my friend!

In the presidential election of 1800, founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were good friends before running against each other, would have made men like Donald Trump gasp in shock at their electioneering tactics. Jefferson’s detractors accused him of being “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia Mulatto father … raised wholly on hoe-cake made of coarse-ground Southern corn, bacon and hominy, with an occasional change of fricasseed bullfrog.” Jefferson was probably the first to hire a hatchet man (James Callendar) to do his dirty work, who characterized John Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” One Adams supporter suggested that if Jefferson was elected president “we would see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution.”

The negative campaigning didn’t stop there. Equally appalling was the campaign of 1828 when proponents of John Quincy Adams called his opponent Andrew Jackson a cannibal and a murderer, accusing Jackson of summarily executing six militiamen during the Creek War of 1813. Conversely, Jackson supporters called Adams a pimp for Czar Alexander I while Adams was minister of Russia.

In the election of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James Blaine, the mudslinging included an illegitimate child and anti-Catholicism sentiments. Democrats portrayed James Blaine as a liar, exclaiming “Blaine! Blaine! The Continental Liar from the State of Maine!” For their part, Republicans claimed in campaign posters and political cartoons that Cleveland had an illegitimate child. Cleveland later admitted that he was giving child support to a woman in Buffalo, New York.

It’s probably safe to say that after the election is over, whoever has won, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump probably won’t be best buddies. But it’s well worth noting that after the ruthless campaigning for the presidency in 1800, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson once again became good friends. Both died on July 4th, 1826 within hours of each other, and Adams’ last words were said to be “Thomas Jefferson survives.” In fact, Jefferson had died five hours earlier.

eLibrary has updated its U.S. Presidential Election, 2016 Research Topic with new up-to-date articles on the debates and polls, along with accompanying graphs.

Be sure to check out more of the past U.S. Presidential election Research Topics and other resources below.

Other related Research Topics:

Other Resources:
Presidential Elections
The Great American History Fact-Finder (Reference Book)

The Reader’s Companion to American History (Reference Book)

President Obama: Moving Forward and Leaving a Legacy

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

President Obama’s Legacy

Every president leaves behind a legacy and becomes part of the classroom history lessons and discussions for future generations.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States. He arrived during a time of anger and brewing uncertainty in the U.S. His campaign slogans ranged from Hope and Yes We Can! in 2008 to Forward in 2012. Did his accomplishments live up to his campaign promises? Only time will tell how historians will view the Obama presidency and whether he indeed brought hope and a positive impact on the country he served.

In the meantime, students can study the impact of the Obama administration by evaluating his impact in key areas: the economy, health care, environment, culture, and education.

The Economy

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he entered a country in the midst of a global financial crisis that lasted from 2007-2009 with lingering after-effects. Jobs were lost and big banks were in trouble. Some economists argued the financial crisis was the worst one since the 1930s Great Depression. Under President Obama, “15 million private sector jobs” were added as of August 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This period of job growth, a total of 77 months thus far, is a record for the United States. Legislation has also been put into place that helps the middle class and low-income families while stimulating financial growth.


Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted by President Obama on March 23, 2010. While it has received much criticism, there have been some clear benefits to this statute. The Affordable Care Act prevents health insurers from denying or charging more for coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions could be diabetes, cancer or a range of others. Read more about pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act here. Also, this law has made it possible for many more people to get health insurance. Only non-citizens and people who are incarcerated can be denied health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Some critics have argued against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act due to its high premiums and tax penalties.

Environment and Culture

An area of differentiation in President Obama’s second presidential term compared with his first has been his tireless use of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Obama has repeatedly used the Antiquities Act to preserve ecological areas and protect cultural as well as historical sites. You can read more about these accomplishments here in a 2015 Washington Post article.

“Obama has established or expanded 19 national monuments for a total of more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters, more than any previous president.” — Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

Also, President Obama has emphasized the importance of acknowledging and addressing climate change. His Action Plan for protecting the planet offers insight into the effects extreme weather is having on the world. His plan also targets ways to limit carbon pollution, which is vital to the planet’s future.


A major misconception about the widely discussed education initiative known as the Common Core State Standards is that it was led by the Obama administration, but this is not so. While Obama supports this initiative it was actually led by U.S. states, many of which opted to adopt these standards on their own. More about the Common Core State Standards can be read here. Some of President Obama’s education initiatives have been:

  1. Race to the Top: Encouraging states to spur education reform so that teachers and students can succeed.
  2. Reforming No Child Left Behind: Intended to close the achievement gap and bring education standards up-to-date.
  3. Redesign Initiative: An initiative designed to improve high schools and incorporate college-level coursework as well as career-related experiences/competencies into daily education.
  4. Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Providing states and school districts with emergency funding needed to keep more teachers in the classroom.
  5. ConnectED Initiative: This initiative aims to bring the best technology and training to students and classrooms.

What is the Obama legacy? 

Your students can research and gather the evidence themselves. Point them to SIRS Knowledge Source for a wealth of information on the past eight years of the Obama administration.

ProQuest SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Voting and Elections

Yesterday, citizens across the United States voted in midterm elections, filling all of the seats in the House of Representatives, some seats in the Senate, and state and local offices. It is a right and a privilege that not all people in the world share. And it is something for which many people in the United States have struggled and fought.

Women Suffragists <br \> by Library of Congress via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Women Suffragists
by Library of Congress via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer


Do your students understand the magnitude of elections and the significance of casting a vote? A look at 20th-century voting history may be a good start. Less than 100 years ago, women in the United States could not vote. They did not recieve this right until 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. And less than 50 years ago, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, people were openly restricted from voting in some parts of the country because of the color of their skin.

Despite these hard-won victories of the past, little more than half of eligible citizens vote in most elections. Since this is the case, young students may need to learn about voting and elections at school.

Do your students know what it means to take part in the democratic process? It means being informed about candidates and their political backgrounds and beliefs. It means registering to vote. It means voting early, sending in an absentee ballot, or going to the polls on election day. It means stepping up to a voting booth, making choices, and having your voice heard.

During the month of November, SIRS Discoverer focuses on the history of U.S. voting and elections. The product’s Spotlight of the Month presents articles and Web sites on the Electoral College, the Fifteenth Amendment, women’s suffrage, the evolution of voting methods, and more.

Help your students explore the democratic process and find out what it means to be an involved citizen.

The First U.S. Presidential Election

On this day in 1789, the United States held its very first presidential election.

In accordance with the recently ratified Constitution, white male property owners voted for electors, who in turn voted for the presidential candidates.

George Washington

President George Washington

The winner of this process by a landslide was George Washington, the Virginia landowner who had led American forces in the war against the British. Washington was sworn into office in New York on April 30, 1789.

Washington was a delegate to both constitutional congresses. He was unanimously named both as commander in chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and as president of the convention that drafted the Constitution.

Washington’s popularity cut across the political spectrum, and included both Federalists, who advocated for a strong central government, and Democratic-Republicans, who sought to reserve most governmental powers to the states.

Washington finished first with 69 votes, followed by his fellow Federalist, John Adams of Massachusetts, whose 34 votes won him the vice presidency. (Prior to the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804, the candidate who received the most electoral votes became president while the runner-up became vice president.)

You can learn much more about this fascinating time in American history from the extensive resources in eLibrary.

SIRS Leading Issues Promote Global Cultural Literacy

Your students may all want to move to France after reading this article about proposed legislation that would eliminate homework for French primary school pupils!

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues allow users to explore global perspectives on scores of diverse topics like Abortion, Education Policy, Elections, Gay Rights, Health Care, Immigration and more. In our rapidly changing and shrinking world, the need for improved global education is increasingly apparent. SIRS Issues Researcher’s editors review and select articles from more than 375 international publications. Access these international viewpoints by selecting the Global Impact icon under Research Tools for each Leading Issue.

The article results list can then be sorted by relevance, date, or lexile score, or users can view the three editorially-selected feature articles at the top of the page…and maybe start planning that move to France.

Au Revoir!