Posts Tagged ‘presidents’

Comparing Two Controversial Executive Orders

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana

Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution requires that before U.S. presidents can assume their duties they are required to take the oath of office, affirming in part that they “will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. This post will review and compare two controversial presidential executive orders that were issued in the interest of national security, and that many believe violate various provisions and protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Among these are the First Amendment rule barring the establishment of religion, the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process of law, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order #9066

On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A total of 2,403 were killed, including 2,335 military personnel and 68 civilians. The United States entered World War II by declaring war on Japan the following day. A wave of anti-Japanese sentiment across the country was accompanied by widespread fear of a Japanese attack, especially on the vulnerable West Coast. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War to declare certain areas of the United States military zones in order to prevent espionage and sabotage.

Residents of Japanese Ancestry Awaiting the Bus at the
Wartime Civil Control Station, San Francisco, Apr. 1942
By Dorothea Lange, U.S. War Relocation Authority via Library of Congress [public domain]

Within weeks, all persons of Japanese ancestry–whether citizens or enemy aliens, young or old, rich or poor–were ordered to assembly centers near their homes. Soon they were sent to permanent relocation centers outside the restricted military zones defined by the order. Around 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were native-born citizens of the United States, were forced into remote and desolate internment camps with armed guards and barbed wire for the duration of the war. There were 10 different sites across the country, including Tule Lake, California; Minidoka, Idaho; Manzanar, California; Topaz, Utah; Jerome, Arkansas; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Poston, Arizona; Granada, Colorado; and Rohwer, Arkansas. Many lost their homes and businesses and were separated from loved ones for the duration of the war.

In 1942, 23-year-old Fred Korematsu, who was born in Oakland, California, to Japanese immigrants, refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that Congress, the President, and the military authorities did not have the power to issue the relocation orders and that he was being discriminated against based on his race. The government argued that the evacuation was necessary to protect the country. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the need to protect the country in time of war was a greater priority than the individual rights of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans. One of the three dissenting opinions, written by the lone Republican-appointed Justice Owen Roberts, stated that “I think the indisputable facts exhibit a clear violation of Constitutional rights.”

Protest Against Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban
By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2017: President Donald J. Trump ‘s Executive Order #13769

Skip to 75 years later. One week after taking office, on January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order #13769, ordering a halt on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries–Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Two days later, the president released a statement which read, “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion–this is about terror and keeping our country safe.” The order sparked immediate protests both across the country as well as internationally.

The next day, a federal judge in New York blocked part of the order. On March 6, Trump released a revised travel ban that excluded Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily blocked. A federal judge in Hawaii then issued a nationwide restraining order on the revised travel ban March 15, ruling that it still discriminated on the basis of nationality. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling on May 25. The Trump administration then appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on the travel ban order in October 2017. Stay tuned.

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SIRS Discoverer: Presidential Election for Kids

presidential election

Image via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

As we all know, this year’s presidential election has been highly contentious and at times “not suitable for children.” However, it is important for young students to be aware and involved with the election process. So how should teachers handle what is happening with the election?

Teaching Seventh Graders in a ‘Total Mess’ of an Election Season (New York Times) discusses how 7th-grade teachers are facing the challenges of how to handle election discussions in their classroom.

Teachers Use Nasty Election to Spark Polite Student Debate (AP) showcases how teachers are using the election to encourage critical thinking and research skills and suggests some ideas for your students:

–Analyze a newspaper article on the election and write two to three paragraphs about it.

–Take a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, tally Clinton and Trump yard signs and write two to three paragraphs about why the student thinks people in the community might support one candidate over the other.

–Interview five people about who they are voting for and write about why they support a particular candidate.

Still need creative ideas for examining the elections is your classroom? Since the articles and images on SIRS Discoverer are hand-picked by editors you will find content that is age-appropriate for your students. Here are some subject searches to get you started:

Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Trump, Donald

Election 2016

Presidential candidates

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.

Monica Lewinsky Turns 40

Monica Lewinsky RT

Research Topic page for Monica Lewinsky in eLibrary

Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern whose affair with then President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, turns 40 years old today.

Lewinsky, the daughter of a divorced Beverly Hills couple with political connections, worked at the White House and became involved with President Clinton while working at the Public Affairs section at the Pentagon. Recordings of Lewinsky’s conversations with friend Linda Tripp were used by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr as part of his prosecution of Clinton. The impeachment trial, only the second of a U.S. President, resulted in Clinton’s acquittal in February 1999.

Following the notoriety associated with her affair with the President and the ensuing impeachment process, Ms. Lewinsky started a handbag business and appeared in a number of television programs. She moved to London in 2005 and received a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics in 2006.

Bill Clinton Impeachment RT

Research Topic page on the Clinton Impeachment in eLibrary

For more on Monica Lewinsky and the Presidential impeachment, eLibrary’s Research Topics pages are a great place to start. There are more than 8,000 Research Topics pages in eLibrary as of July 2013. These pages are curated by ProQuest editors to include the best content in the product, offering valuable context behind the most commonly researched people, events and themes in History, Science and the Arts.

State of the Environment

“[F]or the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.  Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend.  But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15.  Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods–all are now more frequent and intense.”–President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, February 12, 2013

(Credit: Executive Office of the President)

(Credit: Executive Office of the President)

With undeniable climate news littering the headlines of 2012, President Barack Obama brought the spotlight back to global warming, climate change, and environmentalism with his 2013 State of the Union speech.

Learn how you can incorporate SIRS products into your lesson plans to illustrate the ties between environmental education and the President’s environmental policy. With product features such as Topic Overview, pro/con Essential Questions, and an abundance of multimedia, shape lectures with the most timely headlines and editorial additions to keep your classroom on par with the President’s climate objectives.

SIRS Discoverer: Accessing Presidents Day Coverage

"George Washington." Photo credit: Boston Public Library / Foter / CC BY

“George Washington.” Photo credit: Boston Public Library / Foter / CC BY

Presidents’ Day falls on Feb. 18 and was originally created in honor of the first president of the United States, George Washington. It is a day to remember the contributions of the 43 presidents. SIRS Discoverer covers them all from Richard Nixon to John F. Kennedy; Bill Clinton to president Barack Obama; and it includes a comprehensive collection of biographies, historical photographs, editorially selected websites and news to fit a variety of educational needs. Start your research with: “He’s Back: Richard Nixon at 100” or “Welcome Back, President Obama!”

Since SIRS Discoverer’s content is hand-curated by editors, the most current and relevant research is always at your fingertips.

Play this interactive, editorially-selected website featured in SIRS Discoverer from the Library of Congress:

Inauguration History in SIRS Discoverer

President Barack Obama was inaugurated in a private ceremony on Sunday, January 20. The following day, President Obama swore the oath of office in a public inaugural event. He swore the oath on two historic books: the bible of Abraham Lincoln and the bible of Martin Luther King, Jr. In honor of this historic day, rely on SIRS Discoverer to learn all about inaugurations and their history.

Every four years on January 20, the U.S. President-elect is inaugurated. Although every presidential inauguration is different, one thing remains the same: that it is a formal occasion full of pomp and circumstance. The day is full of many events, including a religious service, musical performances, and a parade. But the most important part of the inauguration is when the President-elect takes the oath of office, promising to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Hundreds of thousands of people fill the National Mall to witness the inauguration, and millions more watch on television and online.


Jackson’s many supporters mobbed the White House at his inauguration in 1829. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

SIRS Discoverer provides articles and pictures that explore the history of presidential inaugurations in the United States. Learn about the inaugurations of specific presidents, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. You can even take a quiz!