Engaging President Adams Activity
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Presidential Decisions Activity: President Adams and the XYZ Affair!

Presidential Decisions Activity: President Adams and the XYZ Affair!

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In this presidential decision making activity, students take on the role as President Adam and his advisors to come to a decisions to 'solve' and come to a decision on what to do with the XYZ Affair the potential war with France.

SITUATION: The French foreign minister has just greatly insulted your diplomats who were sent to Paris to work out an agreement to calm tensions and avoid war- instead the United States got a slap in the face with the demand of an outrageous bribe. On top of that, the French Navy has been seizing American ships and interfering with our trade. How will you respond, Mr. President?

First, you review a timeline of important events that led to the crisis to help students understand factors leading to this issue. Then there is a 'context' overview slide that breaks down the crisis into a very understandable language. Then, students read the 'Presidential Briefing' and complete the 'Presidential Decisions' worksheet.

The worksheet has students consider important questions a president must consider before coming to a decision- what do we know about this issue, what limitations do I have, what does the Constitution allow me to do, what do I wish the result to be, what could go wrong, how do the American people feel on this issue, and several more. This gets students to really think deeply and take problem solving seriously and will make history interesting for students as they think critically and creatively!

 Then, students write a speech announcing their decision and this could be read to the class so students learn how each group approached the crisis. Lastly, you review what the president actually did to handle this situation. On the slideshow, it reviews this so you can just discuss it with students. Trust me, students will be so much more interested in what actually happened, ask questions about it, and think critically about a historical event they might otherwise have not cared a lick about! So get your students in the drive seat in history and engage them in some seriously exciting history!

 This has everything you need to complete the activity- no outside resources are needed! And there are links to the Google slides version so you can edit anything you want! Its definitely the most engaging lesson for President Adams that I use with my students. 👊

Check out my "early presidents" bundle or full year bundles of president decisions if you like this engaging history activity. 


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